Pulling down the engine…

My son had is Aussie Rules Football start of season this morning, however when we returned home I decided to have a good crack at finishing the engine dis-assembly.

First, I remembered that I hadn’t taken a pic of the heads.  Here is one of them – the other side looks exactly the same.  Visually they look to be in good condition.  I will know the real answer when I drop them off at the head specialist and have then magnafluxed.  I rang around and spoke to a couple of places last week – Head2Head (Clayton South) were a stand out.  He has been doing heads for a long time, and sounded like he really knows his stuff.  He also was happy for me to do my own porting, but suggested that the heads are cleaned and magnafluxed before spending any time on them.  Great advice.


First job of the day was to remove the freeze plugs.  I started with the rear LH side.  Once I had the plug removed, there was a solid wall of dark grey goo which was pretty firm.  I stuck a screwdriver into it, and I could immediately see that it was thick.  I should mention that the water in the block had an awful smell – a bit like a mix of wet dog and stinky feet!

Once I had the 6 plugs removed I spent 10 minutes with a high pressure hose and a long screwdriver breaking up and  washing out what seemed like an endless supply of dark grey goo.  It was totally water soluble, which means that it doesn’t have any oil in it.  Hooray!

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I then moved onto removing the valve lifter cover (or valley cover).  Pretty straight forward and no surprises. Next I turned the motor over and removed the sump.  Man that is a serious bottom end!

One of the engine rebuilders I spoke to last week suggested that the oil pickup tube is too small on the Cadillac engines.  I must say it does look a little bit on the small side.  He said it is easy to fix so you have an unrestricted supply for the oil pump.

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I had a good look at what was living on the bottom f the sump – there was a thick gooey layer of sludge.  Once I dug a paint scraper into it, it became clear that the gooey layer was about 1/2″ thick.  The top layer was black and oily, however  below that it was a very light grey coloured thick sludge (the same colour as white bearing material).  It was very solid, and was surprisingly heavy.  I grabbed a magnet, which had no effect on it.  I was starting to get worried now.

When I removed the sump I also noted that the front seal was not seated in the centre of the groove like it should be, but was half hanging over the ridge which was meant to hold the seal in place.  Based on the hardness of the gasket and seals, I expect this has been like this for a long time.  Maybe from the factory?

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I moved on to the front pulley and harmonic balancer.  It looks like someone may have screwed one of the bolts a little bit too tight at some stage. 😉  The harmonic balancer came off easily – it really helps when you have the correct tools!

I then removed the timing chain cover, and was surprised to see some pieces of a spring fall out.  I have no idea where they came from, but I found another piece in the engine later on.

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Time to get serious and move onto the pistons.  I removed each piston starting from number 1 at the front of the engine.  I took my time and they came out easily.  No cracked rings, and only a small lip on the bore.  The rings look to still have plenty of spring tension.  The oil control ring (the lower ring) is like nothing I have seen before.  It is a one piece cast ring with two contact surfaces.  Oil control rings in my mind are always two thin rings with a spring to separate them and hold them against the bore.


The pistons have ‘Cadillac’, ‘LO EX’ and ‘1470497’ cast into them.  When I Google the part number, I only get one hit which reads ‘1959 1962 OEM Cadillac Pistons 010 oversize part No 1470497’.

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Once the pistons were out I removed the crank.  This is a big piece of cast steel, and is seriously heavy.

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Last thing to come out was the bumpstick (camshaft).  All the lobes look to be the correct height, with only a few spots of wear on the outer edge of a few lobes.  I won’t be needing this, but I might offer it around as you never know who might be in need of a cheap genuine camshaft.  The lifters did not want to come out, however a piece of dowel and my ball pein hammer helped them see the way out.


I did not have a chance to measure anything up, but am looking forward to finding out how much wear there is.  All the running surfaces are clean and shiny, with no scoring or damage.

I hope I can remember how to get this giant jigsaw puzzle back together!    All of the bolts have been put in separate labelled containers so I at least have a chance of getting them back on the right component.


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