69 396 BB Start up problem - Impala Tech
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-16-2018, 11:42 AM Thread Starter
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69 396 BB Start up problem

Hello all - I appreciate any help you could offer.

I Have a 1966 Impala with a 69, 396 with Edelbrock carb. and manifold with GM HEI distributor (auto trans).
The car had a lifter tick and all new lifters were installed along with new ignition wires and now my start up is going very badly. The lifters were soaked in oil overnight before installing and I installed them by backing off the nuts 10 full turns and re tightening 10 turns. The car sat 3 days before starting was attempted. Now it will only run by cranking the starter a minimum of 20 seconds and feathering the throttle, and at that, it doesn't run on all 8 cylinders (runs on maybe 6)and will not accept any more than about 20% throttle and dies when at idle. There is no backfiring so I am confident of firing order. The timing shows OK - When cranking, it lines up with 6 BTC. When it does start there was no clattering. As a test I then backed all of the nuts out by 1 full turn but it made no difference in the running.
FYI: While installing the intake gasket I used silicone around the water ports only on the head side only. When running I do notice some spatter coming out of the tailpipes and realize there would be condensation, however I am not sure if it's excessive (pics attached and taken about an hour after running). The oil on the dipstick looks OK.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-16-2018, 11:54 AM
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My first recommendation is to adjust the valves properly. You probably have them too tight and are holding exhaust valves off the seat.

I also suspect that if this is a flat tappet cam you will suffer wiped cam lobes in the near future as you can not just drop new lifters on an old cam like that. You have to replace the cam along with new lifters and break in the cam with break in oil, or an oil supplement like GM's EOS.

I have to also ask how worn was the timing chain when you had it apart? That can introduce variations in the cam's timing which also affects the ignition timing.

Big Dave
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-16-2018, 12:57 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Big Dave,

I'm sorry there's more to the story than I posted as I didn't want to post a 5 page post. The short version of the story is below.

I bought this car 2 years ago - The Guy I bought it from had a few problems and did not finish anything he started. There were allot of things, but the worst thing I found was, he had pulled the body off and had it painted / restored and when he put it on the frame did not install the body mounts(yes it was just sitting on the frame). All the bright work,the convertible top was installed after that. He has since passed away so could not tell me these things. This is important to remember when dealing with this car. I found he had installed the engine and replaced the the Cam / Chain / lifters / manifold and carburetor but did not tighten or torque the manifold of which I found a couple gallons of water (not coolant) in the oil. It's a good thing it would not start for him. I did start it after changing the oil a couple times.
So to answer your questions about the replacing the cam. The cam, gears and chain are new and I believe the lifters failed do to the water in the oil.
I did go over the the lifter adjustment after installing them with the 10 turns to the spec with the attached from GM procedure. But that's why I backed them off 1 turn each when I was trying to diagnose the problem. I do plan on going over them again once it is running.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-16-2018, 02:07 PM
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If the engine was ever attempted to be turned over with the water in the oil system you could have any number of issues in the engine. Also if the water sat in the oil system for a while you could have rust on the inside of your engine.

If you have a good dial indicator with magnetic base you may be able to put a dial indicator on the rocker arm and check and compare exhaust and intake lift as you rotate the engine by hand. If all the lifts don't match each other and all the exhaust don't match each other you could be dealing with a wiped cam lobe. Another thing, are all the rocker arms moving when the engine is running or you turn the engine by hand. If not you could have stuck lifters or again a wiped cam.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-16-2018, 03:39 PM Thread Starter
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The only rust I saw was on a couple lifters.

The rockers seam to be rocking normally, however I do not have a dial indicator.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-16-2018, 04:00 PM
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Try adjusting valves again with the motor off turning the motor over by the bolt head in the harmonic balancer using a long breaker bar to apply an even smooth torque (If the motor will not turn over do not force the head of the bolt or you will over tighten it). Here is a common and effective way of adjusting valves courtesy of Comp Cams:

https://www.google.com/search?newwin...=1518814847371

There is no counting turns except for the three quarter turn after zero lash. (just like GM says to do it in that piece you posted except Chevy wants a full turn to have a tighter lash to prevent noise).

Big Dave
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-16-2018, 05:58 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Dave I'll give that a shot tommorow. I only counted the turns to change the lifters and get them back to a relative location.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-17-2018, 09:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RMC1218 View Post
The only rust I saw was on a couple lifters.

The rockers seam to be rocking normally, however I do not have a dial indicator.

Rust on your lifters indicate you had moisture in your lifter valley. Most likely you got moisture on your Cam also.


You can try to readjust your rockers and run it as I don't think more damage will be done, but I would be looking for a rebuild kit and tearing the engine down for an inspection if nothing else. If it is a flat tappet cam then it is pretty unforgiving and a little rust quickly becomes an abrasive.
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