Basic Tech / Fundamentals

* AN Fittings, Threads
* Dry, Wet Sump Oil Pan
* Liquid Weight
* Hydralic Pressure and Force
* Short, Long Block
* Engine Displacement

* Dwell vs. Timing
* Setting Points
* Timing Advance and Temperature
* Unleaded Fuel Use and Valve Seats

* Cylinder Leak Down Test
* Engine Noises
* Oil Smoke
* Open Differential Tire Speed
* Pinging

* RTV, Silicone Use
* Grease
* Assembly Tips
* Soldering/Brazing/Welding

* Oil Change
* Master Cylinder Bleeding
* Brake Bleeding
* Brake Replacement
* Distributor Install
* Water Pump Replacement
* Timing Chain Replacement
* Cam Replacement
* Main Bearing Replacement, Engine in Car
* Oil Pan Gasket Replacement, Engine in Car
* Valve Seal Replacement, Engine in Car
* Suspension Spring Replacement

* Setting Idle
* Installing a Heli Coil
* Spark Plug Indexing

* Siezed Engine
* Siezed Soft Metal
* Siezed Spark Plug Shell
* Metal Tubing Repair

Submit corrections and additions to this information to The Olds FAQ Compiler.

A-N Fittings, Threads

A-N Fittings vs. Pipe Threads
A-N is a term that stands for (Army/Navy). These fittings were first used in the military, designed by our Aerospace program.

The most common braided fuel line is -6, which is equivalent to 3/8" hose. - -8 would be 1/2" hose. Note that the dash number is the hose size in 16ths of an inch (-6 = 6/16 = 3/8; -8 = 8/16 = 1/2). Most of the adapter AN fittings you'll need to mate to your stock fuel pump and carb will be -6 size.

So here are some reference numbers to help, comparing pipe sizes to A-N sizes. Remember, pipe thread is measured by inside diameter (ID).

NPT pipe thread Threads Closest
size (ID) per inch A-N fitting
1/16" 27 -2
1/8" 27 -4
1/4" 18 -6
3/8" 18 -8
1/2" 14 -10
3/4" 14 -12

There is a great write up on the A-N fittings in the August 1997 issue of "Drag Racing Monthly".

Straight threads do not make a seal - you'd need to have some sort of flare fitting or sealing flange with an o-ring or gasket. All of the fittings in the oil system (well, ok, the one at the sender) and the cooling system (sender, thermo switches, and the fitting at the back of the intake manifold) are pipe thread, as are all the vacuum fittings on the intake.

[ Thanks to Mark Prince, Joe Padavano for this information ]

Dry, Wet Sump Oil Pan

Wet Sump Oil Pan -- What nearly every stock engine from the factory has. The oil is kept in the bottom of the pan, thus it is "wet". The pump is also in the pan, and pumps the oil out to the filter and in turn, through the engine.

Dry Sump Oil Pan -- Each and every Drag Racing Pro Stock and each and every Winston Cup car have these. The oil is held in an external tank, roughly 3 to 4 times the capacity of the stock oil pan. The oil pump is now outside the engine, and belt-driven. This oil pump has several inlet sections, each connected to different places in the oil pan and the rest of the engine. It keeps pulling oil out of the engine as quickly as it drops out of it's intended area, be that the rods, mains, cam bearings, etc. and sends it to the external holding tank, where it's de-aerated (to a degree). Then the pump pulls it out of the bottom of this tank, filters the oil and sends it back in to the engine. The oil pan on these is relatively flat, since it now doesn't have to be the container of the oil, just the lower cover and pump inlet(s) receptacle(s). I say those with the conditional "s's" because different applications of this design can use several pick ups or a single one. So, since the pan has no dropped "container" in it to keep the oil in, it is considered "dry" versus the containered "wet" stock style pan.

Simply put, it all has to do with where the oil is kept for the pump to lubricate the engine. "Wet", it's in the pan, "dry", it's kept elsewhere.

[ Thanks to Ken Snyder for this information ]

Liquid Weight

[ Thanks to Greg Rollin, Dorian Yeager for this information. ]

Hydralic Pressure and Force

Be careful not to confuse volume with pressure. Assume that the brake pedal is pressed on with a constant force, resulting in a force F exerted on the pushrod into the M/C. Pressure in the line coming out of the M/C is simply: P = F/A where A = the area of the M/C piston.

Smaller piston diameter = smaller area = higher pressure for a given force on the pedal. Conversely, for a constant pressure in the line (assuming constant pressure results in constant braking force at the wheels), a smaller area results in a lower required force. The concept here is not about moving fluid, it is about (hydraulic) pressure when you are dealing with brakes! Pressure is measured in force per surface size, pounds per square inch. When you brake you want to get the highest pressure in the system with the lowest force applied to you pedal.

Let me give you an example:

You want to put 2 p/si in the brake system.
  1. You have a 1 square inch brake piston. You must apply 2 pounds force to the piston to get to 2 pounds/1 square inch = 2p/si.
  2. You have a 2 square inch brake piston. You must apply 4 pounds force to get 4 pounds/2 square inch = 2p/si!

However, the smaller piston will result in less fluid flow for a given linear travel. Since we are keeping the wheel cylinders a constant size in this example, and thus require a constant volume of brake fluid for the same braking action, the smaller M/C piston must obviously travel farther than the larger one, albeit at a lower applied force, to move this constant volume of fluid. In other words, like any other lever system, you're trading a longer travel for lower force. (Gee, Mister Peabody, simple machines in automobiles _again_...)

The only thing that limits one to go all the way to very small bore sizes is of course that you have to have a certain volume decrease to build up the pressure. With a small piston you would have to press that thing in a looong way to achieve that and that kind of stroke would be not practicable to put in your car.

[ Thanks to Joe Padavano, George for this information ]

Short, Long Block

Actually, a short block consists of the block, with all internal parts, less the sheetmetal (i.e. oil pan, etc), heads, intake, exhaust, and accessories.

A long block is one where you can bolt on your induction system, (intake, carb, FI) and electrical items, exhaust manifolds and such and go.

[ Thanks to Bill Culp, Jim Olson for this information ]

Engine Displacement

Imagine that you took the heads off an engine, pulled all the pistons to the bottom of their stroke, and filled all the cylinders with water. What we call the CID of an engine is the volume of water that would spill out if you now push all the pistons to the top of their stroke.

As you can see, the volume of the intake manifold, head combustion chamber, etc., has nothing to do with displacement. It is all in the bore, stroke, and number of cylinders in the engine.

If you didn't sleep through your high-school geometry classes, you may remember that the volume of a cylinder is equal to the area of the base multiplied by the height of the cylinder. For a circle of radius "r", the area is 3.1415926 x r x r. Since we usually measure cylinder bore, which is twice the radius, we can express this same area in terms of the bore diameter, "d", as 0.7854 x bore x bore. So the volume of one cylinder of the engine is 0.7854 x bore x bore x stroke. If there are 8 cylinders, the volume displaced by all 8 of them is 8 times this, or 8 x 0.7854 x bore x bore x stroke.

[ Thanks to John Carri for this information ]

Dwell vs. Timing

Each degree of dwell incurs a change of *2* degrees of timing... since dwell comes in dist'r degrees, whereas timing comes in crank degrees, and the two are coupled 2:1 by the timing set.

[ Thanks to Chris Witt for this information ]

Setting Points

Dwell is the duration in degrees that the points remain closed, if memory serves. You need the engine analyzer to give you the reading so you know which way to adjust the setting screw on the points. You'll also want a timing light to get your base timing set up on the distributor.

Some of us are old enough to remember when cars didn't have operating systems. You also didn't need a dwell/tach to set the dwell (though it certainly helps). It only requires an 0.030" feeler gauge. Lacking that, a matchbook cover will work in a pinch (been there, done that).

Remove the distributor cap and rotor. Bump the stater until the moveable arm of the points is resting on the peak of one lobe of the distributor cam. Note that this will be the most difficult part of the operation, as it must be right on the apex. Turn the adjusting screw on the points in or out until the feeler gauge/matchbook cover just passes through the points with a very slight drag. Reassemble the distributor. Recheck with a dwell/tach as soon as possible.

You will need a timing light to set the timing, but in a pinch, loosen the distributor and move it a small amount (like 5 degrees) back and forth while cranking until the motor catches. Note that on an Olds clockwise is advance, CCW is retard.

[ Thanks to Joe Padavano for this information ]

Timing Advance and Temperature

I'm not claiming to be an expert, but you're close. Every increase in timing advance results in an increase in spark plug temperature. One chart I've seen put out by Champion Spark Plugs indicates plug temperature increases in percentage about one number higher than the advance figure. For instance, if your timing is 2 deg BTDC, plug temp will be roughly 3 per cent higher than at TDC; at 4 deg BTDC ,plug temp will be roughly 5 percent higher than at TDC and so on. This increased spark plug temperature is one cause of preignition. The spark plug itself becomes the hot spot that contributes to the problem. Other contributing factors to preignition are excessive carbon deposits, poor or low octane fuel (at least lower octane that the compression ratio requires), some fuel additives, excessively lean air/fuel ratios, etc.

[ Thanks to Thomas P. Smith for this information ]

Unleaded Fuel Use and Valve Seats

Starting for the 1971 model year, the EPA got their wish and GM started building the engines for use with low-lead or no-lead fuel. Oldsmobile used this as a selling point as well in their ads, and it is WELL stated as such in the 71 GM car lineup brochure.

[ Thanks to Mike Rothe for this information ]

Cylinder Leak Down Test

For those of you that have never heard of it: A leak down test pressurizes the cylinder with compressed air and gives you a percentage that it leaks (or pressure loss). 10 to 15 percent is about normal, and 3 to 7 percent is the best I've ever seen even with gapless rings on race motors.

The nice thing is that while the cylinder is pressurized you can tell not only how much leak you have, but where. Listen for air rushing from the following places, indicating problem(s) at the following area:

Area Problem
oil cap worn rings
carb throat intake valve is burnt and/or not sealing
exhaust pipe exhaust valve is burnt and/or not sealing
radiator bubbles blown head gasket, cracked cooling jackets

If you run a leak down test on the motor you can determine if you've got good ring sealing and pinpoint the head gasket leak.

[ Thanks to Mike Bloomer for this information ]

Engine Noises

Try to isolate the noise by using a stethescope to track down the noise. I just use a long 3/8" extension w/my hands cupped over one end. Hold in against your ear and the other on the motor. The best way to diagnose whether it's a rod knock or not is by tracing the sound. There are stethescopes you can buy or use a long screwdriver or extension (I've got a 3/8 x 2' that works great) to trace where the sound is the loudest.

Of course, until you pull the pan you won't know the whole story. If the knock is very loud you might as well write that crank off and plan on buying another one. Besides the normal rebuild stuff and the rod and crank, the only other thing that could go bad is the block if the rod lets go before you take the motor down. Unlikely but possible. It is possible to turn the crank and resize the rod, but if the engine has been run long with a knock and it's very loud the cranks probably too far gone. The rod usually can be saved unless you've got a spun rod bearing on top of the knock.

Pay special attention to the pitch of the noise. A rod knock is much lower pitch than most valvetrain noise and take a look at oil pressure too. I have seen very bad cases where there was enough clearance in the rod journal that allowed the piston to hit the valves, but that's not that common.

A rod knock can do a bit of damage to the crank journal, as well as the connecting rod. The crankshaft won't necessarily have to be ground, but a thorough inspection is definitely in order. The rod on the other hand should be resized with new rod bolts. Not much besides those two parts and gaskets are required for repair.

A way of diagnosing which cylinder it is, it to remove 1 plug wire at a time while the engine is running, and see if that eliminates the knock. Without the plug firing on the piston/rod assembly it should quiet it down. That's the only suggestion I have for narrowing it down while the engine is still in one piece.

[ Thanks to Mike Bloomer, Steve Reed for this information ]

Oil Smoke

The exact problem depends upon when the blue smoke appears.

[ Thanks to Peter Berusch, Thomas Martin for this information ]

Open Differential Tire Speed

One thing to note for those of you with the PegLeg rear...

When you are out in the snow, having a ball spinning that one tire, it is actually traveling DOUBLE the speedometer indicated speed. This can cause rather dangerous tire failure. Posi will spin at speedo speed, but due to the nature of open diff, when one is not moving and one is, the one that is spinning is spinning 2X. Assuming you have no vehicle speed, then you would have to subtract out that.

So when I was a punk kid and punched my 76 Delta on ice with 2.73's and got the speedo wrapped ALL the way around, it was not just doing 120+, it was actually 240! Glad I did not keep it up!

[ Thanks to Thomas Martin for this information ]


That pinging can be killed off entirely without resorting to things poured in the tank, the Mechanical Compression Ratio of the 455 in 1968-70 isn't THAT high, nor is the cam severely tuned for extreme cylinder pressures at low speeds (like for example a truck or Cadillac might use) that the car will not run correctly.

Before I mention anything else, please remember you must not permit the engine to ping for anything over a couple seconds at a time, and that the damage caused by pinging is drastically increased at higher throttle openings- thats's to say, a slight milk bottles clinking together sound at 1/8 throttle leaving the traffic light is considerably less of an issue than a hard mechanical knocking climbing a long hill at heavy throttle. Engines that ping break pistons, they cannot stand the abuse long, and it is cumulative damage. If someone let that car ping heavily in 1975, you might add the straw that breaks the camels back tonight;-) Be thoughtful of this while you drive. If you are rebuilding someday, forged pistons have somewhat greater resistance to damage from pinging, although they also break eventually.

There are different sorts of pinging too, the mildest is 'spark knock' and the worst is preignition with accompanying loss of all control of combusution and wild detonation. "pinging" is spark knock.

Gas Octane is seldom understood well. Octane is a measurement of a fuels 'anti Knock' qualities, which is a silly way of expressing its ability to burn at a controlled rate. It can go off like a flash, or it can burn in a chain reaction slowly. Lead was used as a popular additive for fuels because the formation of a lead oxide particle passing from carbon molecule to carbon molecule as each was oxidized would tend to slow the chain reaction, and hence help maintain control of combustion. There are many other ways to modulate combustion, lead was just a very inexpensive one. They all work fine at a given octane level.

The actual 'quality' of fuel is completely independent of octane. Premium fuels are no cleaner, more powerful, better made, etc. than lower octane grades. Always its desireable to use the lowest octane fuel that an engine can tolerate without pinging.

Another consideration, is it is desireable to tune your engine for gas that is generally availible straight from the pump. If your car will not run on less than 96 Pump Octane, you have problems if you live where the best gas is a 93, or travel there often.

Pump Octane which is the number on the pump is SEVERAL numbers lower than RESEARCH octane as indicated in your owners manual. A research octane of 91 is currently an 87 octane fuel at the pump. No GM engine passenger car engine ever required gas over RON #98, excepting a handful of Corvettes with extremely special order 11;1 engines etc. What this means to us now, is that the engines should run perfectly fine on ~94 pump octane fuels today. In europe, they still use Research Octane Numbers.

Many car manufacturers, GM included took advantage of high octane fuels for years to mask thier poor quality control or indifferent tuning at the dealer service departments.This means that premium fuels are less neceesary than you've been led to belive in many cases, and octane tolerance is not so critical as it might appear at first.

As a rule of thumb, subtracting one degree initial ignition advance for each point of octane you no longer have is about right, but theres a few things complicating it now. If the car should run well on lets say 94 octane, and has a factory setting of 13, and best you can but is a 91 octane, an initial lead setting of 10 degrees often is close enough to correct the pinging.

Gasolines have been changed significantly since the 1965 era, the first real lowering of octane levels was in 1967-68, which meant by 1970, most engineers had retuned the cars to compensate. Currently, fuels in many areas have a ton of 'additives' for a variety of purposes (octane boost, oxygenation of fuel, detergents , etc) added to the raw gas at the refinery which although add soime benefits in some cases, do have the unfortunate effect of displacing actual gasoline in a gallon. This means the gas is somewhat 'weaker' than before, and hence cars with fixed metering systems like carbs run leaner, and THAT really is a strong cause of knocking, as well as driveability problems, and poor mileage from premature activation of the power enrichment systems to compensate. The amount of 'watering down' of your gas varies from negligable in some places to about 5% in California and areas using MTBE additives and 'reformulated' gasolines.

Having thrown this wrench in the works, you have to retune with an eye towards compensating your engine calibrations back in the original direction.

Your cars should be tuned to tolerate whatever represents 'worst case scenario' in normal operation. This means a generally availible premium fuel for 1970 and earler cars, hottest weather and operating conditions, heavy traffic long grades whatever that you're likely to ever encounter.

The factory distributor MECHANICAL advance (flyweights and springs) is almost always 'perfectly' matched to the peak combustion pressures for a given engine. If you have a factory engine, take advantage of GM's painstaking work in this area, and ensure the distributor curve is precisely on target with the published specs. Pay attention to play in the advance mechanism parts and shaft also. An HEI from a later engine is fine if it has an identical curve, but really, doesn't have a large effect on knocking or drivability problems. Primary reason HEI was made standard equipment was to get the cars off emission warranty if you failed to change plugs. HEI works real good, but is not a significant improvement really, over a good breaker point system, certainly nothing too obvious from the driver's seat, in any event.

I gurantee your car is running slightly lean, they were set up lean to a fare thee well in 1970, and since then, the fuels have been 'watered down' some so its leaned out a little more- additionally, as the engine wears you lose a little vacuum, leaning it out further a bit. To correct this, you need larger main jets. The factory jets will have a number stamped into them, lets say '74'. It will appear at 120 degrees all the way around the perimeter of the jet, visible from the top. a '74' as in our example approximately means a 0.074" diameter hole in the jet. The actual size may vary, the number is assigned after Delco tests flow thru the jet, hence it does not always correspond precisely to the jet orfice.

A typical (not Q-Jet) carb jet is lets say GM #7002674. The "700" prefix identifies the carb family it belongs to, the '26' identifies the profile of the jet opening (different numbers mean different shapes, i.e. square cut, 'funneled' etc.) and the last two digits are the jet opening size. Ordering a jet with the same number but the last two digits about 3-6 higher will generally correct for fuel changes thru the years. In our example, this would mean going to a 7002677 to 7002680 or so. Generally, try four jet sizes larger as a start. Jets are about $3 each, quite an inexpensive part.

Carbs were mentioned here by Sparky- pay extra special attention to throttle shaft leaks etc. A good idea is to make seal kits even when the shafts are in perfect shape to keep wear from occuring. A small Viton 'O'-ring that fits freely over the shaft and a washer and light spring similar to what a ballpoint pen uses can make an extremely effective seal. Have the spring press the washer and 'O' ring against the throttle body. Preventing air leaks at every point will help prevent knocking.

The idle systems in those old carbs are also too lean. Thats going to have to wait for another post however!

A EXTRAORDINARILY common problem is a sticky, too agressive, meddlesome or otherwise overzealous vacuum advance unit. Disconnect it without fail for preliminary calibration of the carb and distributor.

You want the carb rejetted slightly richer, on the best premium fuel generally availible to you (1970 and prior only) the engine warmed completely up (40 minutes driving) and the VA disconnected (dont forget to plug the hose) and then you can attempt to set a static timing (initial lead) setting on your distributor. Set it at 10 degrees first. leave the distributor just barely loose enough that with both hands it is possible to barely move it to advance or retard it from this setting. Learn which direction achieves which, too!

Next take the car for a ride. You will need one complete pull thru at wide open throttle from about 20-80 mph to see if theres any knocking. Slowly floor the car at 20 and see if theres any knock/ping. If there is discontinue the test IMMEDIATELY and retard the ignition advance slightly. Retry until you find a point of no knocking or a significant deterioration of performance. If you retard past 'zero' on the timing tab, you've clearly gone too far;-)

If the car does NOT knock, advance it slightly a little at a time until you hear the engine start getting close to knock. IF it does knock, as always, discontinue the test, back off immediately.

By doing this you can usually discover that the car will tolerate 91-93 octane fuels nicely with only minor retard of the original timing etting( 4-8 degrees back from the published specs)

Tighten the distributor base clamp at this time and make a note of the timing lead that can be tolerated. Feel free to hook up the VA at this point if you want, if it causes pinging, you need a different more complimentary VA unit. Vacuum advance devices are often the problem. Fortunately, tons exist, and a better one is always availible.

Now you must calibrate a vacuum advance. You have a few choices here, theres literally dozens of factory ones in the wreckers, and you can compare them on the bench at home and pick some likely candidates or you can buy an adjustable one from the aftermarket manufacturers also.

The object in calibrating a VA is you want it to advance as much as possible at light throttle without going so far as to cause 'spark knock' and you want it responsive enough to get out of the way fast under sudden acceleration. If a car does not knock with the VA disconnected, the VA is the problem. You can try a couple different ones off of similar cars and often will find one that is a perfectly complimentary match for your car. If you advance your timing around three degrees from the 'ideal' setting we originally had determined with the VA disconnected, and the car is on the hairy fringes of knocking all the time at light throttle, you have found your perfect unit;-)

So, to sum up!

  1. Rejet main carb jets slightly richer (four jet sizes up is a start)
  2. Fix any possible vacuum leaks
  3. Check distributor mechanical advance and condition
  4. Find a tolerable initial advance setting for the car with no VA active
  5. Find a VA unit that flatters the car

If this doesnt work, you may have other problems- Carbon is VERY unlikely, since unleaded fuels became the norm, and high detergent gasolines for FI, it is very unusual indeed to find significant carbon deposits in an engine anymore. If you have an emission test for this car, I'd be extremely interested in seeing it, they can tell you a lot about a cars tuning. A big flag is NoX over 800ppm at idle.

[ Thanks to Brent Covey for this information ]

Adhesives, RTV, Silicone, Gasket Dressing Usage

For those of you who may believe that silicone is the cureall, it is not. Gasoline will dissolve silicone very quickly, thus do not use silicone where it will be in contact with gasoline. Ahhh, the voice of experience, the best teacher but not the cheapest.

Regardless of what you use to create a seal between two components, the seal created is only as strong and durable as how clean (grease-free) you have made the two sealing surfaces. Use lacquer thinner, carb cleaner or brake cleaner. Clean any bolt holes as well for a better grip on the bolt or stud.

The engine is in and the only thing left is to install the intake manifold and carb and go cruising. Well, while busy doing something else your son/daughter/friend/spouse/significant other/drunken neighbor (take your pick) decides that the best way to seal the intake is to use silicone around each of the intake ports. Not, a good idea unless you want to coat your valves, runners, combustion chambers, pistons and so forth with a coating of baked gooey silicone in the color of your choice. What a mess. Silicone dissolves in contact with fuel but once baked to perfection in the cylinder it is a bear (choose your own word) to get off. Live and learn. Use gasgacinch only and silicone only around the water ports.. no wonder the plugs were so fouled!

Use gasket dressing, RTV and sealer in moderation. Let these sit a couple of minutes to either penetrate the gasket or take a bit of a "set".

Put some silicone in the four corners where the intake mates with the heads and block in the back and front. I am against silicone in most gasket procedures but I put silicone in all the "corners" that appear for example. I suggest you also use a bead of silicone around the water ports. Around the intake ports, I don't use silicone, but use brush tack or similar. Also in the corners of the oil pan.

The red loctite I've seen is used to lock in hardened exhaust seats (on top of the press fit), but I use the blue loctite on stuff that you don't want coming loose, but still want to be able to get loose, like flexplate bolts and such. The blue is just extra insurance against vibration, but you can still get it out with a little effort. Believe the bottle on the 271 when it says you need a torch to get it out!

Take a look at Loctite's web site:

Gasket Dressings
These materials will soften the gasket to make it take the form of the two sealing surfaces easier. Good for helping a gasket seal rough surfaces. Hylomar, High-Tack are examples. Remains flexible, doesn't harden, so the gasket can be removed in the future and reused. Don't use without a gasket! Acetone will usually remove these sealants.

RTV / Silicone
This is a gasket making material. Good for sealing rough surfaces. It will usually breakdown in contact with gasoline. Breaks down in contact with paint thinner (actually a great way to remove it from covers). Since it is a gasket material, why is it put on gaskets? A gasket on a gasket?

I personally would NOT put silicone anywhere near oil. Silicone can be used to glue the gaskets on the cover but if you intend to open the covers and put them back again, don't glue the covers on the block.

Silicone can tear off (after some years in hot conditions) in pieces that may clog the oil paths. In the case of valve cover, they usually clog the oil return holes. You imagine the rest of this story. So, when you use silicone as a sealing agent, use it in places where it can't run away even if it has lost some (or all) of it's plastic properties.

Luckily silicone is quite stabil in chemical means. It can withstand most solvents. However, it is soluable in alcohol. For example, glycol (antifreeze) makes silicone loose it's elstic properties pretty fast (1 year or so). This makes the use of silicone questionable in intake manifolds.

These materials are kind of like RTV, and sort of like a gasket dressing, but don't necessarily harden. They work well for sealing smooth surfaces. Rough surfaces usually leak. Acetone will usually remove these sealants

[ Thanks to Al Varhus, Chris Witt, Mike Bloomer, Brian Lorway, George Aigeldinger, Esko Ilola for this information ]


For Rubber: I have always been told not to allow rubber bushings to get petroleum based oils on them. Petroleum products cause deterioration of the rubber. I have always been told to use silicone to lubricate bushings, engine mounts, and other rubber products.

[ Thanks to Matthew Bremmer for this information. ]

Assembly Tips

There may come the time when you'll need to get a new thermostat housing, or exhaust manifold, or miscellaneous cover to make anything seal. If these methods don't seem to be working for you then you probably need a new or a part that's in better condition.

You might consider replacing the gasket with a performance gasket (metal between the cork). Do not overtighten. After driving 100 miles or so, tighten down 1/4 turn.

Exhaust Manifolds: If the block and the manifolds are in good shape there should be NO gasket between them. They are not needed. There weren't any put on by the factory. If you do need to use a gasket to corecct for some small warpage the used the metal sided gaskets and install the gasket DRY with the metal side to the manifold.

Intakes: From my experience with Oldsmobiles I can tell you to use Permatex "Brush Tack" around your intake passages on both sides of the steel shim gasket. Also you want to use a small amount of RTV around the water passages. Mondello recomends using "his" Velpoloid fiber intake gasket, because of the different expansion rates of aluminum and cast iron. The fiber will withstand the scuffing alot better.

When installing your metal tubs use brushtack for all surfaces around intake ports and water passages (both sides). Drop a small ball of Silicone sealer only in the corners of the valley. Use the rubber end gaskets. Olds don't like beads of silicone like Ch*vys do.

I have found that these gaskets need to be dry-fit first, bent & tweaked a bit here & there until they stay in place themselves, held by the little round burrs punched in that mate with the "extra" holes in the heads. THEN apply the sealer for the intake ports, then the silicone, then every so carefully lower the unit, back end first under the dist'r, about 1/2" above the final position, then line up the slotted bolt hole pretty close [LH side fwd short bolt], then lower the last little bit and set properly. 45 degrees should be fine for silicone.

In conjunction with the stock-style sheetmetal valley-pan gasket, I used RTV blue around the water passages, and I laid a big bead in place of the end-seals. I also used RTV red around the crossover ports, and spray-on copper gasket around the intake ports (all surfaces). No leaks so far. Oh, yeah, I used the Performer intake as well.

Also, the torque sequence in my manual says to start with the outside bolts and work in. I followed the shop-manual procedure for the Olds, which works from the outside in. Those mechanics are, of course, thinking of that other small-block, which does in fact tighten its intake bolts starting with the inside ones. Do to an Olds what an Olds requires.

Thermostat/Water Pump: When replacing one of these used #1 hardening Permatex on both sides of your gaskets, set the gasket on the part with some, get it positioned and let set for 5 minutes. Then put a small bead around the other side let sit again for 5 minutes and install. Any of the silicones can cause gasket slip and be unsightly when it squeezes out around the gaskets.

Valve Covers: I have had excellent results by using Permatex HARDENING sealer. I put it only on the valve cover side of the gasket and let it sit for 5 minutes. When you install it place it on the engine after you thoroughly clean it with alcohol. Then start lightly tightening the bolts from the center out. Go around the valve cover twice. Use a nut driver and only tighten them good ans snug. DON'T over tighten them. They will last for 3 years or so this way. As for the oil pan do the same thing only difference is that you put a slight amount on the block also. You will NOT have leaks. Hope this helps. I personally prefer the rubber gaskets over cork.

Torque is a big factor in valve cover gasket sealing. It's easy to overtorque them, especially the newer ones with fewer holddown bolts. What often happens is the cover is bent downward where the gasket compresses most from the bolt. This makes sealing tough. Make sure all the boltholes are not bent downwards, and take care not to overtorque the gaskets. The blue goo is a good idea, that I often adhere to. I've seen people use weatherstrip adhesive to glue the gasket onto the valve cover. This seems to work well, if the cover is ~clean~. If there's any crap on the surfaces, you'll need some damn good sealer to stick to it. I'm a big fan of the Permatex Ultra Copper. Good stuff. I don't much care for the generic blue silicon goo. It seems like there is a reliability difference. Of course, two years really isn't ~that~ bad.

I've found the best thing is Felpro rubber gaskets and Indian Head gasket shellac. First clean both surfaces really good then use a fine emery cloth, apply shellac to the heads and valve covers. Put the gasket on the valve cover side first, then a little more on the gasket itself, let everything get "tacky". Position the cover and tighten. The stuff sticks so well, you won't need to hold it in place while you start the screws.

Another important thing - make sure the valve covers are not bent where the screws go through. If they are, they won't tighten down evenly. Gently tap them with a hammer on a flat surface until their straight again.

Overall: I've used Indian Head on everthing. Rear end covers, thermostats, valve covers, water pumps, etc. never unhappy with the results.

Originality not a concern, I use 1-1/4" long set screws and self locking all metal stainless steel nuts on my valve covers along with the other tricks mentioned. Just tighten the the nut until it contacts the cover, and then 1/2 turn more.

[ Thanks to Aaron Kollsmith, Chris Witt, Bob Barry, Jim Chermack, Charley Buehner, Bill Gochenour for this information ]


Welding involves actually melting the parent metal, either with or without a compatible filler rod, and allowing it to cool and fuse into a homogeneous part.

Brass is used in brazing, which is more like soldering, but at a higher temperature and using the brass instead of the lead/tin solder. The parent metal is not melted in either brazing or soldering - thus much less heat is used. A brazed joint is much stronger than a soldered joint, but still a long way from a properly welded joint. The lower heat of brazing makes it good for some types of sheet metal repair (like brazing up trim holes where the trim will no longer be installed), as the lower heat produces less warpage.

If the brazing is done right, with no cold joints it will never flake off. In rare cases, like a lap joint with thin metel, brazing is actually stronger than a weld.

[ Thanks to Joe Padavano, Bob Blanchard for this information ]

Oil Change

Read these instructions completely before proceeding to identify tools and items you need, and to familiarize yourself with this procedure!

Figure on about 45 minutes and a beer to do this comfortably. 20 minutes at higher speed. About an hour for a more complete oil pan drain.

Items needed (outside of regular tools):

It is best to have just driven the car or warm the engine to normal operating temperature. The oil will drain easier and you will remove more particulate matter from the oil pan.

Block with rear wheels (at least one side), front and rear, with some blocks (scrap 2x4's will do). Raise the car on a hydraulic jack or the factory one and support it with jackstands. Get it high enough so you can crawl under and move your arms comfortably. Put on your rubber gloves and grab a rag.

You might want to let the car cool for a while, but it's probably better to just get the oil change over with. The oil plug and oil will be a little hot. The rubber gloves will protect your hands. Just watch out for the exhaust manifolds and pipes, otherwise you'll burn yourself.

The Procedure
Crawl under the car and locate the oil drain plug, it should be on the bottom of the oil pan somewhere near the center. Put the oil drain pan underneath the drain plug.

Loosen the drain plug a couple of turns or to finger tightness, but don't take it all the way out with the wrench or oil will go everywhere. Unscrew the drain plug by hand, pressing it tight against the oil pan so as to not let any or much oil flow, and to not let the plug fall into the oil drain pan. When you are ready, in one quick motion, pull the plug down and to the side to minimize the amount of oil that gets on your hand.

Let the old oil drain out of the oil pan. Now that the plug is out, it's time to take care of the filter. Grab another oil pan or small container and a rag. Crawl under the car's passenger side, just behind the front wheel.

Locate the filter, position the extra oil pan, and loosen the fileter a half to full turn, just so you can spin it by hand. This is important. Check the position of the extra oil pan again, maybe hold it close to the filter. Now give the filter a 1/4 to 1/3 turn and wait for a stream of oil to come down the side. Nothing? Spin it again and wait. Continue for a 3-4 turns. The filter won't be ready to fall off yet. At some point, an oil stream should run down the side of the filter.

Let it drip til it almost stops. Wipe the bottom, then spin it until it is loose, then carefully take it loose, keep it horizontal and place into the extra oil pan, or wiggle your way from under the car and drain the filter in the garage.

An alternative way is to loosen the filter until you you can spin it off with your hand, but don't spin it off just yet or you'll make a big mess. Put some paper towels just below the filter to catch what drips off. Some always does.

Take one ziplock bag and slip it over the old filter as you spin it off. It will capture the old oil as it oozes from the old filter. Keep spinning until the old filter is off. Ziplock the bag, but force the air out just before it closes. Slip the ziplock containing the filter into the second one, and now you can cleanly handle and dispose of the old filter.

Now that the filter is off, wipe the filer mount area clean. Crawl from under the car, grab the new filter and a quart of oil. Slowly fill the shiny new oil filter. Watch out, it absorbs fast, but can get overfilled in a hurry. Keep filling for a few minutes or until it is about 2/3 full. Dip your filter in a bit of the new oil and run a thin film around the rubber gasket on the new filter.

Crawl under the car again, filter, clean rag, and filter wrench in hand. Wipe the sealing surface of the filter mount again, then install the new filter hand tight. Careful around that exhaust crossover pipe. Turn the filter 3/4 to one full turn after it contacts the base. Again don't over tighten or it will leak.

The old oil should be dripping from the pan at this point. How long you let it drip is up to you, but the more of the olds stuff that comes out the better.

When you are satisfied, replace the oil drain plug. Make sure there is some sort of metal or plastic washer with the plug! If not, you lost the washer, find it! Torque the plug to snug, but not overtight. The Chassis Manual will say around 50 ft/lbs, but that sounds a bit high to me. Just don't strip that plug or things get to be a pain. Wipe the oil pan bottom clean so you can look for leaks later.

Slowly (!) slide the filled oil drain pan out from under the car. Too quick and you'll spill oil everywhere. Empty into a plastic container that you can take to the oil collection center. Milk jugs are too thin and will leak over time. Use a coolant or windshield washer jug. When you dispose of the oil, keep the jug and reuse it. Dispose of your old oil responsibly. There might be gas stations, repair shops, or auto parts stores might take your old oil for free.

Put the wrenches back on your workbench, or listen as you drive over them.

Locate the oil fill tube on the front of the engine. Take the remaining oil from the first quart, which didn't quite fit in the filter, and pour it down the oil fill tube.

Pour in four (five for a Toronado engine) more quarts of oil for a total of 5 (Toro: 6) including what's in the filter. Put the cap back on the oil tube.

Check under the car for a puddle of oil. No puddle, start the engine. The oil pressure light will come on for a couple of seconds while the oil galleries are pressurized. Let it run a minute, then run it at around 2000 RPM for a minute or two. Shut the engine off. Check the oil drain plug and top and sides of the filter for leaks. Any leakage, retighten, then check again.

Pull out jackstands, lower the vehicle back onto the ground, and remove the wheel blocks. Record mileage and date.

Have a beer, you've done it.

Post Operative Checks
Once the car has cooled, check the oil level on the dip stick. Probably hard to read with new oil, but it can be done. Level should be at or slightly above FULL.

Check for oil puddles or excessive oil usage for a couple of days to a week just to make sure you performed this correctly.

A big piece of cardboard really helps when crawling underneath the car. You can slide around easier, and it keep the pavement clean from spills. The filled oil pan slides out easier too.

[ Thanks to Chris Fair for this information ]

Master Cylinder Bleeding

Method #1: Plug both ports (screw in metal fittings are best, but it is possible to hold the rubber plugs that typically come with a new cylinder in place) Fill with brake fluid. With top cover off, stroke the piston until air ceases to be expelled from the ports in the bottom of the reservoir. If you have a vice, you can clamp the cylinder in the vise and use a wood rod to stroke the cylinder. If no vice is handy, I have resorted to holding the cylinder against my hip or abdomen and placing the wood rod against a convenient brick wall to stroke the piston.

Method #2: Screw bleeder lines into the ports. These run from the ports up to the reservoir. Can be purchased or easily made from lines taken from a junk car. Fill with brake fluid. Make sure the bleeder lines are submerged in the fluid. Stroke the piston as above, only you are watching for no more air from the ends of the lines rather than the ports in the bottom of the reservoir.

Both methods work fine, but method 2 requires much less effort as the pressure is vented by the lines. Failing to bench bleed can make it very hard to get a firm pedal on the car.

[ Thanks to Fred Nissen for this information ]

Brake Bleeding

Gravity bleed: Doesn't produce positive pressure within the brake line to sufficiently "push" air bubbles from areas where an auto manufacture winds a brake line in a circle removing slack in what might be a line originally produced for a longer wheel base frame. Air is buoyant within brake fluid and will come to rest in line high points. I would think with gravity feed, a lot of brake fluid better pass through that line to insure all air removed, (particularly when priming new line).

Vacuum bleed: Effects negitive pressure at brake line end that decreases the longer the line is. Air bubbles say in the line nearest the MC may not be dislodged to travel the line length. Not to mention that you could never produce a massive vacuum that would in effect proper total line fluid movement. The negative suction will decrease within the line the longer the line. Try siphoning a fluid through a 3' hose vs a 10' hose. The negitive suction required would increase exponentially as length increases and/or diameter decreases.

Submersing hose in collection reservoir does restrict air from re-entering line, (line end submerged), but also allows contaminates to suck back in when pedal released to draw more brake fluid from reservoir into piston cylinder (negitive line pressure). Hence, your only actually moving apx. 2/3rds of the fluid stroke. I would say apx 1/3rd of the fluid dispensed would be sucked back in line as pedal rises for next stroke.

Pedal pressure bleed: Optimal as even though the pet cock is open and positive pressure is far less than a closed line, still, more pressure is developed to "Push" air bubbles from front to rear. Even on an open line, the positive hydraulic line pressure would far out pace any vacuum from the other direction. A positive pressure (hydraulically) would seek it's pushed line level, (even on an open line), and remain constant to line end and fluid dispel.

So, yes the line end ball check valve is valuable to this process. In fact most all hydraulic systems contain such devices. However at $7.00 + S/H per wheel? No. Buy One, attach it to a length of aquarium air line and move it from wheel to wheel as you bleed the system. Don't forget longest line first, (usually passenger rear wheel). I also remember in the pre vacuum boost MC, not to allow pedal to travel full deflection as that allowed the MC piston to travel past reservoir intake port allowing brake fluid to enter behind the piston. I recall that the standard was no more than 3/4 pedal deflection travel, than on to the next stroke.

According to the Oldsmobile factory chassis manual, the recommended order for bleeding the brakes is left front, right front, left rear, right rear - in other words, closest to farthest. At least, that's what all the factory service manuals from 1966 to 1971 say. Now, frankly, I suspect this ranks right up there with the great debate on which way the toilet paper hangs, but now you know what Lansing was thinking. (Note that this does not take into account any variations in newer cars with ABS or other features.)

[ Thanks to Gary Couse, Joe Padavano for this information ]

Brake Replacement


If the rotor is not scored and in need of surfacing, this is a very easy job. You'll need a few special tools, like a proper-size allen-head socket bit and a big C-clamp. Remove the brake fluid resevoir cover and spoon out some fluid from the larger resevoir. Put the car up securely on jackstands and remove the front wheel. Compress the caliper with the big C-clamp. Unscrew the two allen-head bolts on the back of the caliper. Lift up the caliper, pull out the old pads, drop in the new pads with some anti-squeak compound on the back of them, and with the proper metal clip on the pad near the piston, slide back down over the disk, reinstall the Allen-head screws, get the wheel down, and the car off the jacks, put the cover on the master cylinder, pump up the brakes, refill the brake fluid, and off you go!

If your discs need to be turned (only if they're scored; if they're only slightly uneven, that's ok; the pad will conform to the surface, though some like a nice flat surface every time), you'll have to remove the spindle, at which point you may as well repack the front bearings. For this, once you have the caliper off, hang it from the frame with a coathanger (don't let it dangle by the brake hose!). Then you remove the dust cap, remove the cotter pin holding the spindle nut in place, remove the spindle nut, washer and outer bearing (put some newspaper on the ground under the wheel to catch these pieces if they fall out), then pull the hub and disc straight off. On the back of the spindle is the rear bearing, held in there by a grease seal that can be pried out with a screwdriver (though at $6, a grease-seal puller is a nice investment that is worth every penny for the aggravation it saves). Pull out the bearing, and take the hub to the machine shop to be turned. Pick up a pair of new grease seals, as they are cheap and ought to be replaced as a matter of course.

To repack the bearings, you can buy a small tub/can of wheel bearing grease (make sure it is rated for use with disc-brakes!), and by hand force the new grease in-between the rollers, forcing out the old grease. I really like the grease-gun attachment, however, which pumps the fresh grease in under pressure; lot cleaner, and you get more fresh grease in there. A grease gun is a wise investment if you own an old car, as you can service your own front-end linkages whenever you want, which makes those parts last a lot longer (and they're not going to be getting any cheaper or more plentiful).

Once you get the rotor back from the machine shop, clean out any old dirty grease and put some fresh grease on the bearing race surface in the hub, drop in the regreased inner bearing, pack in some more grease, and tap in the new grease seal (there are drivers to make sure these go in flush; if you're careful, you can gently tap around it, or use a small block of 2x4 to make sure it goes in flat). Then, install the rotor onto the spindle, reinstall the regreased outer bearing, the washer, and then tighten the nut down while rotating the disc. I think my manual calls for you to torque it down to 12 ft/lbs while spinning the disc, and then back off until you can insert the cotter pin to hold the castle-type spindle nut in place. Get a shop manual and double-check what procedure they recommend for you car; I don't have mine handy (I'm at work). Then install the dust-cap, and continue with the reinstallation of the brake pads.

One thing to be sure is that you don't get grease or dirt on your rotor or pad surfaces; this will get ground into the pad with your first application of the brakes, and decrease braking performance for the life of those pads. You might also want to put some white lithium grease on the allen-head bolts, and/or replace the o-rings in the caliper that ride on that allen-head bolt.

[ Thanks to Bob Barry for this information ]

Distributor Install

Read these instructions completely before proceeding to identify tools and items you need, and to familiarize yourself with this procedure!

Ok, here's the deal. Assuming you have the original points type, it's pretty simple. Do this before you start, however. I'll exlplain why later. Find the TDC for #1 piston on the firing stroke (remove dist. cap so you can see rotor). The rotor should be lined up for firing #1 cylinder. Once this is done, then remove the black lead from the (-) side of the coil that goes to the distributor base. Remove the vacuum can hose connection, and then, with a distributor wrench, or long extension, a 9/16" socket, and a ratchet, you can remove the bolt holding down the clamp on the driver's side of the distribuor where it goes down in the block. Remove bolt and retainer, then you should be able to wiggle the distributor straight up and out of it's location. Try twisting the housing back and forth if it seems stuck. If it's REALLY stuck, hoo boy. STOP, and reconsider your options. May have to drop the oil pan/pump/drive rod assembly and use a long rod and hammer to tap it out from the bottom (been there and done THAT too!). No fun.

IMPORTANT. WITH THE DISTRIBUTOR OUT OF THE ENGINE, AT THIS POINT, DO NOT DISTURB THE CRANKSHAFT POSITION!!! Find a suitable FME (foreign material exclusion) cover to place in or over the hole in the block to keep junk out. If the oil pump rod came out with the distributor, it's not a great big deal, but hopefully it's because someone FORGOT to put the retainer washer in during assembly.

Assuming all goes well, when reinstalling, reverse the procedure. If the rotor is in the same position as when you started when installed, then you shouldn't be too far off on your timing. Once you get the engine started, time to desired settings as normal.

[ Thanks to Mike Rothe for this information ]

Water Pump Replacement

If you buy a rebuilt pump, spend a few more dollars and get more warranty or a pump from a more respected rebuilder. Generally it is best to just spend some more and get a new pump. There are three different water pump snout lengths. 5", 5 1/2", and 6", measured from gasket surface to pulley mount surface. +/- about 1/8".

Items needed (outside of regular tools):

Preparation and Removal
Read these instructions completely before proceeding to identify tools and items you need, and to familiarize yourself with this procedure!

Begin by degreasing the water pump, timing chain, fuel pump, power steering area of the front of the block. Spray with your favorite degreaser and let it sit a while. Repeat applications of degreaser will help. Take to your local car wash to blast the crude off. High pressure from a hose connected to your house's water supply will work as well. Letting the area dry will make this a better experience!

Disconnect the battery negative cable. Drain the radiator through the rad's petcock (pliers). You won't need to remove the radiator to replace the water pump or timing chain. While that's draining, remove the top half of the radiator shroud (3/8 or 10mm bolts), and the nuts (1/2") holding the fan clutch to the water pump snout.

Loosen the alternator (1/2", 9/16"), power steering (9/16" behind pulley), A/C (1/2", 9/16"), and A.I.R pump belt adjustment bolts. Remove the belts, remove the water pump pulley. Remove the crank pulley (9/16") at this time.

Loosen the thermostat bypass hose clamps (5/16") and any other heater hoses attached to the water pump (5/16") and the bottom radiator hose clamp (5/16") enough to remove the clamp or move it down the hose toward the radiator, to get it out of the way. Don't remove the hose just yet. The radiator doesn't need to have finished draining at this point, but it would be a good idea. That way the rad and water pump will be pretty well drained. Put a bucket underneath this area. If you want to save the hose, work it free from the pump slowly! If you are trashing the hose, position the bucket and make a cut from the water pump somewhere below the middle of the hose, so the coolant drips down and isn't forced to flow on the block and associated crude.

Twist the hose back and forth til free. Then start pulling it off the water pump. Take it easy! Use one hand to ready the bucket, the other to pull the hose. When the hose is just about to come off, it will get pretty loose. Easy does it! Be ready with the bucket! The coolant from the water pump will want to go left, and from the hose it will want to go right. Let the hose come off the water pump just a little so a dribble starts. Adjust the dribble according to your confidence in catching the coolant. To avoid an unwanted slash of coolant whenever you lean on the car, jack up the rear of the car (do both sides), allowing the coolant to drain some more. When done draining, move the hose out of the way.

Remove the power steering pump bolts and nuts. Two studs (9/16") go through the timing cover, and one bolt (5/8") attaches to the block (below, near exhaust manifold). You might also have to loosen a bolt (1/2") that attaches the two stamped brackets together.

Clean you hands!

Clean all the bolts and degrease them with the brake clean. Run a thread chaser (looks like a file) on the threads to clean them up.

Clean the water pump gasket area on the timing cover, and clean the sealing surface on the water pump.

Put some dressing on the water pump gasket, line up the top water pump bolt holes (7/16"), thread the two top water pump bolts to finger tight, then do the two bottom ones. Install the four (two per side) timing cover/water pump bolts/studs and tighten finger tight.

Using a crossing pattern, and multiple passes, tighten the four smaller water pump bolts (7/16"), four lower timing cover bolts (5/8") and four timing cover/water pump bolts (9/16") to the 22 ft/lbs spec of the water pump bolts. Using a similar crossing pattern and multiple passes, tighten the four lower timing cover bolts (5/8") and four timing cover/water pump bolts (9/16") to around 40 ft/lbs.

Now to install the power steering pump. Place the short spacer onto the top stud on the right side of the water pump. Position the power steering pump so the mounting bracket holes line up with the studs, and install the two nuts (9/16&qout;) so there is about 1/8" to 1/4" play. Get underneath the car and install the 5/8j" bolt, placing the rubber washer near the block and the steel spacer between it and the bracket. Thread the bolt through all of these and install a little more than finger tight. Tighten the stud nuts (near water pump) to about 15 ft/lbs, tighten the lower bolt the same, then completely tighten the 7/16" bolt and nut that joins the bracket halves. Now tighten completely the two stud nuts and one bolt.

Place the water pump pulley on the water pump snout, aligning with the studs. Place the fan clutch assembly on the water pump snout, aligning with the studs. Install the nuts (1/2") and tighten to around 30 ft/lbs.

Now install the various belts. Power steering is the rear most, so install it first. The adjusting bolt is behind the power steering pulley. You can adjust the required tension by pulling with your hand on the pulley or pry between the power steering and water pump pulley. The A/C belt is next. The alternator belt is last.

Install the radiator shroud (3/8" or 10mm). Refill the radiator with coolant, adding one can of water pump lubricant per gallon. Fill the overflow resevoir above the full mark.

Post Operative Checks
When you do start the car, let it warm up. Check for leaks. Check for leaks after the first run and every couple of days afterward. Green is coolant. Correct any leaks. Do any tightening with the engine hot to ensure a proper seal.

After about a day of use, check the belts for proper tension and adjust if necessary. Check the overflow bottle's level and add coolant if necessary.

Use gasket dressing, RTV and sealer in moderation. Let these sit a couple of minutes to either penetrate the gasket or take a bit of a "set".

If you can let the car sit for a couple of hours or a day before starting the engine, you allow the gasket dressings, RTV and sealers to cure, and ensure their success.

[ Thanks to David Brown, Chris Witt for this information ]

Timing Chain Replacement

I would say, based on experience, the Olds factory chain is good for at least 100-125,000 miles, 150-175,000 if the oil was changed every 3,000 and not allowed to run low. Past 175,000, you are gambling, and mileage and timing will suffer. Some persistant driveability problems will arise also. A tip from experience: if your oil shows tiny, tiny glittering specs of metal, yet the engine's bearings are in good shape, but the timing chain has over 125,000 miles on it, suspect the nylon teeth have come off the cam gear, and the chain is slowly wearing into the aluminum of the cam gear, creating the tiny, tiny metallic specs you see in the oi1l. It helps if you dump the filter contents into a pan and tip the pan back and forth to get light to reflect off any metal particles.

For measuring timing chain stretch, with the chain off, place it on a flat, horizontal surface and form it into an oval shape. Pick up the two ends of the oval, holding the chain horizontal. Look for any sag in the chain from the horizontal plane. There should be none.

Preparation and Removal
Read these instructions completely before proceeding to identify tools and items you need, and to familiarize yourself with this procedure!

Spend the little extra ($20?) to get a roller timing chain set (looks like a bicycle chain). A double roller is even better. Avoid the link chain (OEM, factory) setup as they stretch easy and cannot keep the valve train timing as accurate as a roller setup. The OEM cam sprocket also uses a nylon covering which although a little quieter than steel sprockets, cracks and falls into the oil pan, clogging the oil pump.

Items needed (outside of regular tools):

[ Notice: ]Follow the directions from the Water Pump Replacement - Prep and Removal section, then continue here.

Completely loosen the metal fuel line (5/8" flare nut) at the fuel pump. Remove the top and bottom fuel pump bolts (1/2"), and the fuel pump. Maybe jam a small ball of clean rag in the fuel pump hole to keep dirt out.

With an impact wrench, remove the crank bolt (1 1/8") and large washer. This bolt might be a different size, so check it before buying that expensive socket.

Without an impact wrench, bring #1 piston about 2/3 way up to TDC on the compression stroke, then stuffing "soft" READ "SOFT" rope in the cyclinder. Then as you looosen the balancer bolt, the compression of the rope keeps the piston from rising, thus giving sufficient resistance to loosen the bolt.

Clean and reinstall the balancer bolt back into the snout of the crank (but without the thick washer). This will allow the puller to bear against the head of the bolt and not bung up the threads in the snout. It is important that you have still have the large washer in your hand and NOT installed on the crank! You will not be able to pull the harmonic balancer and will destroy it otherwise! Use a steering wheel or harmonic balancer puller to pull the harmonic balancer.

Slightly loosen the timing cover bolts (9/16", 5/8"). There are eight, four 9/16" near the top of the cover, and four 5/8" near the bottom of the cover (one is used to secure the timing tab). Tug on the top of the cover a bit to break the seal, and use a screwdriver or putty knife to pry the sides and bottom free. Easy does it, the cover can be bent. Remove cover and clean the crank snout. You might want to jam a couple small balls of clean rag in the water pump holes to keep dirt out.

With the timing cover off, rotate the engine, using the crank bolt, until the marks on the crank and cam sprockets line up. You'll thank me when you try to install the new timing chain set. This makes installing the new gear set very easy. If the chain broke or slipped, you'll have to rotate each sprocket seperately.

Remove the cam sprocket bolt (9/16") with the impact wrench. Remove the fuel pump eccentric and cam sprocket. If the sprocket is a little tight, use a couple of screwdrivers to gently pry it off the cam. Are the sprocket teeth chewed up? Is the nylon covering the teeth still present? If the nylon is gone and this is the first chain, the nylon is down in the oil pan, packed into the oil pump pickup. Some people say, bit the bullet and remove the oil pan so the nylon can be cleaned from the oil pump pickup or replace the pump. From experience I'd say unless the engine will experience sustained WOT driving (like oval track racing), or 10,000 miles between oil changes is the norm, don't bother. It's your call though.

Remove the round oil slinger (loose). Position the wheel puller on the crank sprocket. The sprocket and square key should come off rather easily. Clean the crank snout again. Sometimes the square key doesn't want to come out. Sometimes the application of mild heat using a oxy acetylene torch is necessary to break it loose. I use a punch and tap the end of the key to "shear" the bond that holds it in there like glue. Smooth the marred area of the crank nose with a file and then with emery cloth. You don't want any burrs to interfere with the balancer nose. Then clean up the key way really good before you install the new key.

Clean your hands!

Clean all the bolts and degrease them with the brake clean. Run a thread chaser (looks like a file) on the threads to clean them up.

The front oil seal might have cut a groove in the balancer which prevents the new seal from, well, sealing. If so, get a repair sleeve for the balancer. FelPro makes thin steel sleeves which press over the end of the balancer and provide a smooth surface for the oil seal to ride on. The sleeve may even be included in the timing chain gasket set.

Before cleaning the old gasket off the timing cover area, put some rags in the area to avoid dropping anything into the oil pan. Scrape. A putty chisel (stiff putty knife with slight chisel end) works great. Clean bolt holes with brake clean and Q-tips. Clean sealing areas with brake clean on a rag. Make sure you clean the lower block oil pan area - you can't see it from above. The front oil pan seal goes there and it needs to be clean. Clean a number of times. You want to make a good seal.

Do the same for the fuel pump and fuel pump sealing area. Clean the water pump gasket area if reusing. Clean and paint the balancer. Paint the timing line on the balancer white. Clean the inner machined surface of the balancer, and remove any paint overspray.

With the timing cover, remove the rubber oil pan seal (on bottom), and clean up any old gasket and crude. Support the cover with some wood, front side up. Note the depth of the round crank seal, then remove the seal with the chisel or punch. You want to hit the seal so that you cause it to misform and collapse a bit. Avoid striking or nicking the timing cover! Smooth out if you hit the seal sealing area. About a 45° angle works best. Once the seal is cocked in the timing cover it should be easy to remove.

Wipe the cover's backside and gasket sealing areas with brake clean a couple of times. You want to make a good seal. Wipe the crank seal area again, let dry, then apply a light coat of RTV around the new round crank seal's outside circumference. Position the seal, make sure the cover front matches the seal front, then with a 4" 2x4 scrap, lightly tap the seal into place. Correct any cocking. Drive the seal until it is slightly below the cover's surface, as you noted just above.

Before painting the timing cover at this time, if you choose to, wipe a bit of oil onto the round crank seal's inner sealing surface to keep paint from sticking. After painting, wipe this area to remove any paint.

The sealing surfaces can't be too clean. Clean them again just because it won't hurt!

Timing gears and chains should be changed as part of a matched set. The timing chain wears the sprocket teeth. Don't be tempted to reuse the old crank spocket!

Clean your hands!

Remove any rags covering the timing chain area, including those protecting the water pump holes! Take another look for rags!!

Clean the crank snout off again and let dry. Smear a couple drops of engine oil on the crank snout and keyway, inner surface of the new crank sprocket and keyway, and square key. Be especially careful not to drop the square key into the oil pan. This usually happens while gently persuading the crank sprocket back on with a fine adjustment hammer.

Pay attention to the "0" or "straight up" keyway on the crank sprocket. Some have advance and retard keyways. "Straight up" should be marked with a dot or "0". Aligning the crank sprocket and key and crank keyway, gently and squarely position and start the crank sprocket onto the crank with your hands and then the 4" 2x4 scrap. Tap it, keeping it square. Tap with the side of a hammer to move it down the crank snout. Keep it square! Adjust as necessary! The square key should be moving with the sprocket. Tap it gently if needed.

The sprocket will eventually move to be even with the end of the crank snout. It should be moving easier at this point. Going side to side, use the 2x4 scrap to move the crank sprocket down the crank snout until it is seated.

Now you need to move the dot or "0" crank sprocket mark to the top. Put the crank bolt in finger tight, and turn the crank til the dot appears at the top. This might be a little difficult and you might need a long breaker bar to do this. The dot has to be at the top! Remove the crank bolt keeping the dot at the top. That might be a little hard to do.

Position the cam sprocket on the cam along with the fuel pump eccentric (one end goes into the sprocket hole), and install the cam bolt (9/16") finger tight. Tighten to turn the cam sprocket so the dot or "0" goes to the bottom and lines up with the crank sprockets dot or "0". Put them together with dots toward each other so it's easy to see whether they are correct. Remove the cam bolt and fuel pump eccentric, keeping the dot at the bottom. Remove the cam sprocket.

Put the timing chain around the cam sprocket, dot down, and position the chain around the crank gear, keeping the cam sprocket dot down and aligned with the crank sprocket's dot. Wiggle as needed. When set, put cam sprocket onto cam, aligning with cam dowel pin. Check dot alignment between cam and crank sprocket using a straight edge. Install fuel pump eccentric and cam bolt (9/16"). Torque cam bolt to 60 ft/lbs.

With the cam bolt torqued, remove the spark plug from the #1 cylinder (driver side front most cylinder), and install the crank bolt. With the dots aligned (cam down, crank up), this is #6 firing position. Put your finger over the #1 cylinder plug hole and have someone turn the crank one turn with the breaker bar. When you feel a lot of pressure against your finger, both dots should be near or at 12:00 (both up), that's #1 firing position. Both dots should pass through the both up position as the pressure continues and then decreases. You can also verify the #1 firing position by checking the position of the rotor in regard to cylinder #1's terminal on the distributor cap.

Continue turning the crank until it has been turned twice. The cam goes 1/2 turn for every 1 turn of the crank. Funny how that works, must be something to do with the 18 teeth on the crank gear & 36 on the cam gear. With the crank dot up, the cam dot should be down and they should align perfectly. If they are off, you must remove the cam sprocket and realign the dots. Go through the above test again.

Oil the timing chain and sprockets with engine oil. Coat the teeth and chain as best you can. This could be done before and after turning the crank to help distribute the oil more.

Install the fuel pump at this time. Put a little gasket dressing on the gasket, and tighten the two bolts/nuts (1/2"). Attach the fuel line to the pump (5/8" flare nut).

Place the oil slinger on the crank snout, aligning the key cut with the square key, cup side out (just as it was when you took it off).

If the harmonic balancer has a groove worn in it, now is the time to correct that with the repair sleeve.

The timing cover gasket is not semetrical, so test fit it to find which side is which (don't ask). Put a little gasket dressing on the block side and place into position. Now put a little dressing on the timing cover side.

For the oil pan front seal, you need to cut about 1/8" off each end of the seal in order to make it fit. This is a starting point in trimming this seal - it will most likely have to be trimmed some more. Normally when the engine is being assembled, you don't have to do this, because the oil pan bolts squish the rubber without a problem. A little extra room is needed when not removing the oil pan. When ready to put the seal into the timing cover, you might want to up a very small bead of RTV on the back side (nipple side) of the seal. Push the seal in and adjust so it is not cocked front to rear, but relatively straight. Put a little dab of RTV on the ends where you cut, and maybe a very small bead along the bottom of the seal, set a bit forward from the middle of the seal.

Reinstalling the front cover is a TOUGH with the oil pan in place. Best bet is to loosen the oil pan bolts. You can get away with just the first four on each side of the pan. The new front cover to oil pan seal will be considerably thicker than the old compressed one and getting it to push down enough to get the two alignment pins in the block to fit into the holes in the front cover is hard. Expect to fight with it for a while.

Use a screwdriver and awl to persuade the seal, just don't puncture or tear the seal. It might help to get one of the lower 5/8" bolts started to hold a side in place while working on getting the other side in place. You might have to trim a little more of the seal, and trim a 45° piece from the rear of the ends of the seals to help guide the seal into place. As you work the lower seal, it might be helpful to get the other bolts started to help keep things in place. When it looks good finish by installing the rest of the four 5/8" lower bolts finger tight.

Now that the timing cover is in place, the worst of the job is done!

Clean the bore of the harmonic balancer, oil the bore, oil the crank bolt, and line up the balancer key way with the square key. Start the balancer onto the crank snout. A gentle tap here and there helps. Keep it straight! After a number of taps you will be able to use the crank bolt and washer to pull the balance onto the crank snout. Make sure you use the washer! Go slow tightening the nut to ease the balancer onto the crank. When it want to turn, you are at the next step.

Torque spec on that balancer bolt is 160 ft-lbs (oiled). Have fun. But check your specific engine for the exact figure. For example, the reason that the '65 manual calls for 65 ft/lbs torque is that they have a scrawny bolt compared to later motors that all use a 3/4" NF thread bolt, with torque specs that vary from 165 to "at least 180" to 320.

You can probably get about 140-150 ft/lbs on the nut before things start turning. One solution to get it tighter is an impact wrench. Varying amounts of additional tightening of the crank bolt will yield additional ft/lbs of securing torque. Since the spec calls for such a wide range, you'll be safe. Another 1/4" to 3/8" of travel should work. Just don't crank on the bolt with the impact for a while!

Without an impact wrench, bring #1 piston about 2/3 way up to TDC on the compression stroke, then stuff "soft" READ "SOFT" rope in the cyclinder. Then as you tighten the balancer bolt, the compression of the rope keeps the piston from rising, thus giving sufficient resistance to tighten the bolt.

[ Notice: ]Follow the directions from the Water Pump Replacement - Assembly section, then continue here.

Post Operative Checks
When you do start the car, let it warm up. Check for leaks. Check for leaks after the first run and every couple of days afterward. Green is coolant, brown/black is oil. Correct any leaks. Do any tightening with the engine hot to ensure a proper seal. Check for any fuel leaks near the fuel pump.

Set the timing. Most likely it will be a bit to a lot off.

After about a day of use, check the belts for proper tension and adjust if necessary. Check the overflow bottle's level and add coolant if necessary.

Plan to change the oil after running the car a day or two. This should get any foreign material and initial timing chain break in metal particles washed down.

Basically I used a surplus crank pulley and welded a four foot bar to it. To use it I remove the original pulley (and everything else in the way) and bolt this tool in place with the same three bolts. I then use a Craftsman 1/2" drive breaker bar with a section of pipe over the end (hey, they _are_ unconditionally guaranteed!) and push on one while pulling on the other.

What I think you'll find is that aligning the timing marks in the one up/one down position places you at the start of the engine cycle for #1 cylinder, between exhaust and intake. The coil fires between compression and power (or in the vicinity of them). I know over the years I've heard people have one devil of a time trying to figure out why an engine wouldn't fire or run poorly if it did, only to reinstall the distributor 180 degrees and have everything work just fine. We always 1) line up the timing marks one up/one down, 2) rotate the crankshaft, looking for a) compression on #1 cylinder if the heads are installed or b) that BOTH cam lobes are on the base or bottom end of the lobes if the heads are off, then 3) put on the degree wheel and check for the proper openings and closings of the valves in relation to the cam card. After the pre-oiling of the engine is done, we double-check to insure we're back on #1 cylinder firing (finger in the plug trick and looking at timing mark) then we install the distributor and roughly set the timing so we can fire it up. We've never had an engine not pressurize the oiling system or fail to fire right up using this method, and I'm sure others do it the same way we do so I'm not giving any earth-shaking advice.

Use gasket dressing, RTV and sealer in moderation. Let these sit a couple of minutes to either penetrate the gasket or take a bit of a "set".

If you can let the car sit for a couple of hours or a day before starting the engine, you allow the gasket dressings, RTV and sealers to cure, and ensure their success.

[ Thanks to David Brown, Chris Witt, Ken Snyder, Rob Thomas, Joe Padavano for this information ]

Cam Replacement

Read these instructions completely before proceeding to identify tools and items you need, and to familiarize yourself with this procedure!

Preparation and Removal

[ Notice: ]Follow the directions from the Timing Chain Replacement - Preperation and Removal section, then continue here.

Clean you hands!

[ Notice: ]Follow the directions from the Timing Chain Replacement - Cleaning section, then continue here.


[ Notice: ]Follow the directions from the Timing Chain Replacement - Assembly section, then continue here.

[ Notice: ]Follow the directions from the Distributor Install section, then continue here.

Post Operative Checks

[ Notice: ]Follow the directions from the Timing Chain Replacement - Post Op Checks section, as well.

When you do start the car, let it warm up. Check for leaks. Check for leaks after the first run and every couple of days afterward. Green is coolant, brown/black is oil. Correct any leaks. Do any tightening with the engine hot to ensure a proper seal. Check for any fuel leaks near the fuel pump.

Set the timing. Most likely it will be a bit to a lot off.

Plan to change the oil after running the car a day or two. This should get any foreign material and initial timing chain break in metal particles washed down.

[ Notice: ]Follow the directions from the Timing Chain Replacement - Hints section, as well.

[ Thanks to for this information ]

Suspension Spring Replacement

The rear springs are a piece of cake while the front ones are a little harder, both jobs are definitely possible in the back yard.

Rear Coil Springs
The back ones only require that remove the bottom shock bolts, lift the car by the frame, replace the spring making sure it's properly oriented, lower the frame back down and replace the shock bolt. They can be done one side at a time and the whole job can run less than an hour.

Front Coil Springs
The front ones are tougher and I've just always disconnected the shock and sway bar, jacked up the frame, supported the inside of the lower A-arm with a jack, removed the 2 bolts holding the inside of the A-arm on, lowered the supporting jack, replaced the spring in the correct orientation, and reversed the process. I believe there is a way to do this without removing those bolts and using a spring compressor but I have not personally done it.

[ Thanks to Cliff Simpson for this information ]

Setting Idle

Use a vacumn guage connected to full manifold vacumn, and after setting the base timing and desired idle speed, adjust the idle bleed screw on each side of the carb to obtain max rpm or vacuum. Readjust the RPM idle screw after each side and then carefully trim both sides, and lean it just enough to obtain a 40-50 rpm drop. This is best lean idle.

[ Thanks to Al Varhus for this information ]

Installing a Heli-Coil

A Helicoil is essentially a "spring" of stainless steel wire wound so that the inside diameter of the Helicoil is the same as the female thread you're repairing. The wire used in the Helicoil is a diamond cross-section (instead of round) so that you actually have a set of female threads on the inside and male threads on the outside. The kit comes with an installation tool and a special tap to allow you to tap a new hole for the Helicoil to screw into. You'll need to get the correct tap drill (not included) to open up the stripped hole prior to using the new tap. The Helicoil package will specify the correct drill size.

Simply open up the stripped hole with the drill (be sure to keep is straight) and tap it. Screw the Helicoil insert over the installation tool, coat the outside of the insert with Locktite, and screw it into the hole. It will compress slightly on installation. When the top coil is below the surface of the intake, unscrew the installation tool, leaving the Helicoil in the hole. The bottom end of the coil will be bent in towards the center (which allowed the installation tool to drive it) and this tang must be broken off using a small screwdriver or punch. Be sure to pull it out of the hole using needle nose pliers or a dab of grease on the end of a screwdriver.

You now have repaired the threads to their original size and can use this as you would any tapped hole. In fact, if the piece is aluminum, the repaired threads will be stronger than the originals. This works with aluminum or cast iron pieces.

[ Thanks to Joe Padavano for this information ]

Spark Plug Indexing

Indexing is making the spark plug's gap face the exhaust valve. This is opposite the ground strap. There is a kit available from Summit for this (part #CSI-500 $50, comes w/instructions). The cheaper way is to take a black marker and put a line on the outside of the plug (the portion that the boot covers). This line will indicate where the gap area is on the plug, so as you tighten the plug into the head you will know which way it is facing. Now you need to add a shim in order to have the plug face the right way. The purchase of a shim kit is needed. Never had a car on a dyno to see the benefits, but it can't hurt,and who knows maybe it will give you the slight edge over the guy next to you.

[ Thanks to for this information ]

Oil Pan Gasket Replacement, Engine in Car

Read these instructions completely before proceeding to identify tools and items you need, and to familiarize yourself with this procedure!

Main Bearing Replacement, Engine in Car

Read these instructions completely before proceeding to identify tools and items you need, and to familiarize yourself with this procedure!

Start by removing the oil pan.
[ Notice: ]Follow the directions from the Dropping Oil Pan, Engine in Car section for this procedure.

Just loosen the main(s) beside the one you wish to replace, remove the main cap, and use the new bearing to push the old one around the crank and out. To do this you need to:

Make sure everything is VERY clean. I washed my hands before, and had a clean ice cream bucket full of new clean oil that I used to wash the bearings in. Inspect each bearing before it goes into place (have good lighting) to make sure it's oily but clean. A little chunk of dirt on the soft (babbet) side of the bearing will score it, and dirt on the other side will keep the bearing from sitting properly during installation. Dirt on the caps will interfere with how the bearing sits on them and how they sit against the block. Basically dirt is very bad in this part of the motor.

Understand how main bearings are kept from spinning. If you look at the bearing you'll see a little punched piece sticking out. This fits into a grove on the block or cap. If I recall correctly these are directional because the engine will only turn one way (when under load and running). You should not push the bearing around the crank the wrong way. Plus they must be installed so the little catch sits in the groove. If any of this is unclear, have someone else do the job or at least be there to advise you during the job.

After you replace the cap, tighten both bolts, but do not torque until you have replaced all the bearings. Then begin by torquing each to about half the final torque, before following the tightening pattern. That is to say don't tighten one to 100 ft/lbs while it's neighbor is finger tight.

I forget exactly how I replaced the top of the main seal but it was similar. Please note that if you do put silicone on it then the block and pan must be totally clean and free of oil or the silicone will not stick. This is difficult under your current working conditions. I think I used carb spray to wash the oil from around the area. This stuff is VERY flammable, so take care around open fire and your trouble light. Silicone adhesive makes rubber parts slippery and they will move around easier on metal. This may be good for getting it in place but it can be a problem if the part slips out of place when you apply pressure. If you do use it (I used some but not much on the seals) then watch that none is on the crank. That would stick the seal to the (moving) crank, and you loose that seal as soon as the motor starts. Also watch if you put silicon on the pan gasket that you don't over tighten it. The gasket will slide right out from between the block and pan. Oh, and of course, be sure that you use the correct silicon. GM sells some black stuff that makes it nearly impossible to remove the pan once it sets.

The tranny might leak a little, but I think that pretty normal under it's current tilted condition.

As far as the oil pump goes I would install it as is and get your engine put back together. Before you fire the engine up, you can take the distributor out (mark where the rotor is pointing and place a mark on the distributor body and the engine before you pull it), and use a drill with the appropriate adaptor to spin the oil pump. A big enough drill may even be able to pressureize the oil system enough to run you oil gauge/idiot light. Otherwise just run it for a minute or two. Personally (my opinion), with an engine that has already gone 150k+ miles I would just forget this step. I think it's probably a very good idea for a fresh engine because your internals are dry. Look at it this way, people will leave a car for 6 months without running it and then crank it over. Some people (I used to do this) will install a dry oil filter and then fire up the motor. But to be safest do the drill thing.

Good luck and please be careful under there. Stuck under an engine during a fire would be a hell of a bad place to be. Having your fingers severed by the engine falling off a bottle jack is a concern also. Use wood blocks to support the engine, and check them from time to time.

[ Thanks to Cliff Simpson for this information ]

Valve Seal Replacement

Read these instructions completely before proceeding to identify tools and items you need, and to familiarize yourself with this procedure!

It's a really easy job if you have a head on valve spring compressor and an air compressor. A compression guage with a quick connect on the hose comes in handy also, (used to connect the air compressor to) or a piece of air hose with a male threaded end with thats the same size and thread pattern as your spark plug.

Assuming you have the valve covers and rocker arms off, do the following.

Remove the spark plug for the cylinder you are working on (or all of them for that matter). Make sure the valves for the cylinder you are working on are both up (one rocker is not pushing the valve down). Screw in the hose piece from the compression gauge or whatever else you've rigged up, and connect the compressor hose to it. This keeps the valve up while you have the spring off.

Compress the valve spring and remove the locks, retainer and spring. Pull off the valve seal and replace it with a new umbrella. Reinstall the spring, retainer and locks. Repeat this until you're done and reinstall the rocker arms and cover. Pat yourself on the back, go for a spin and have a beer.

Shouldn't take more than an hour or two tops. Accessory replacement will add to that time estimate.

[ Thanks to for this information ]

Siezed Engine

I have run into this dilemma several times and the best suggestion I have for you is as follows: Drain the oil and water passages. Completely fill the motor with diesel fuel and let set for a couple of weeks. After letting the engine "soak", remove the spark plugs (and diesel fuel), and using an extra large wrench, slowly spin the internals through a few complete revolutions by turning the crank. If this has freed up the rings , and you are not concerned with the longevity of the rings, continue with firing up the motor. My experiences have been that at this stage of work, you must at least hone the cylinders and re-ring the pistons. A thourough rebuild would be the best solution.

[ Thanks to Collyn Eastham for this information ]

Siezed Soft Metal

I had a similar problem with a Oil Pressure sending unit brass fitting broken off in the block. Hollow fitting, and the threads stuck in the hole, with nothing to get a bead on. I successfully (and in about 45 seconds, once I took two days to figure out how to do it), used the following method: Step 1: Get 1/4 extension Step 2: Get 1/4 inch Torx bit, slightly larger in shank than the fitting's oil passageway (hollowed out spark plug's passageway) Step 3: Place torx bit on extension Step 4: HAMMER torx/extension into fitting/hole (spark plug passageway) Step 5: Attach ratchet Step 6: Ratchet the thing out of there.

The problem is that brass is probably significantly softer than what your spark plugs are made out of (???)...still, you might try it. Depending on how much material there is between the inside hole and the spark plug hole threads, this could work..

[ Thanks to Brian Ammons for this information ]

Siezed Spark Plug Shell

Try screwing a reverse threaded screw into the plug. You might have to drill a small pilot hole in the middle of the plug first. This way, when the screw (maybe a small bolt would work?) doesn't go in anymore, it'll start turning the plug out. Oh, and you should probably shoot a bunch of penetrating oil in there too (around the plug), and let it sit for a while. That'll help loosen the plug. Also, if you get a can of compressed air and hold it upside dowm when you spray it, it comes out really cold (definitely way below freezing). Try shooting this on the plug. This should shrink the plug (cold shrinks things slightly) and that may make it easier to come out as well. This won't damage the aluminum at all, actually cold makes aluminum temporarily get really hard, harder than steel even, and when it gets back to room temp. it returns to normal.

Try spot welding a flat piece of metal to the inside of the threads and remove by unscrewing.

Use Justice Brothers JB-80. Its twice as good it says so on the can. Use a propane torch or Oxy/Acetylene to heat the remains. Get it pretty hot, then tap in the straight flute screw extractor. Then dowse it with JB-80. (you can get it from a good shop). Tap the piece again, and begin to remove it. It will still be hot, so be careful, and it WILL come out. Make sure when you put a new plug in, to use Anti-Seize compound.

[ Thanks to Stefan Gadecki, Kerry Kroger for this information ]

Metal Tubing Repair

For brakes, compression fittings are illegal and should never be used on a brake line. They can fail leak etc etc without warning. Here is something to remember when working on a brake line. When you need it the most is when it has to put up to the most pressure. Thats when it will fail. I have had my own car blow a brake line as someone pulled out in front of me. 500 stiches later I learned a lessen I will never forget. You do not use compression fittings on brake lines. You use the couplers that have a flared fitting on both sides. Cut the brake line to the length you need reflare the end then just tighten them together. It will never come apart or leak. This is the proper and legal way to do it.

A lot of people used to install trailer brakes that hooked into the brake lines. If they had compression fittings on them I was not allowed to pass the car. I don't remember since I moved from Pa years ago but I think those are illegal now too. I personally do not use compression fittings on anything I flare all my lines.

My present jet boat caught fire once on LK Hopatcong because it had a compression fitting in the fuel line when I bought it. Luckily I got the fire out right away and it caused no damage. If you build enough cars and boats etc as I do you tend to see things fail more and more and you learn not to do those things.

Actually, it depends on the compression fitting. Now most fittings you buy in the store are brass with the brass ferrals. I deal with hydraulics at a local steel mill here in the Detroit area. We use high pressure compression fittings. We use them all the time on tubing carrying 3500 to 10,000 psi pressures of hydraulic fluid. Under pressure, hydraulic fluid is very dangerous, it will cut you in two, or if it does leak and catch fire, then you have a giant flame thrower. Now we have had no incidents of this fittings failing on our steel tubes. The difference is high pressure compression fittings are made of a hardened steel and use a completely different type of ferral.

For more info contact a fittings manufacturer or distributer, like Parker Fluid Power. They handle all types of high pressure fittings including An's, hoses, JIC fittings and compression fittings.

I have to agree with the statements made, I take it to the point that anything that has a flammable fluid or brake fluid gets nothing but an AN fitting and high-pressure hose on the race cars. I'm currently composing a set of rules that will govern a class of road racing and I won't personally allow any car to use a compression fitting on it at all, and hose-clamped ends must be over a flared or barbed fitting. That means no plastic line for those oil pressure gauges. Besides, they're usually too small to give responsive readings, I prefer a dash-3 AN fitting and AN-to-pipe thread adapters.

[ Thanks to John Carri, Mark Prince, Ken Snyder for this information ]

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