Premature Bearing Failure - Chevelle Tech
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post #1 of 76 (permalink) Old Jul 23rd, 12, 1:10 PM Thread Starter
Phil
 
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Premature Bearing Failure

Well here goes, this is my first post on this forum and I hope I don't stir up too much controversy. Please bare with me if I don't have all the information you may need to form a valid conclusion. Recently my brother and I had 427 Chevrolet Engines built by a reputable engine builder for our Chevelles. Mine is a 69 and his is a 66. Both engines are built nearly identical. Both hydraulic flat tappet cams with lift in the .570s, I don't recall duration, but they sure don't idle very well. Forged pistons, H beam rods. We were told clearances are slightly looser than stock for a more high performance application. Using Valvoline Premium Blue® Diesel Engine Oil 15W-40 recommended by Engine builder. Both have HV oil pumps with stock pans. Neither engine had ever been turned over 4500 RPM. We just had these built and working out the kinks on the cars before we really got to drive them.. I believe mine used Clevite Bearings and my brother's were Sealed Power. Please let me know what other information you need and I will try to provide.

My problem is my engine ruined the bearings with less than 15 miles of drive time. Cam was broke in by engine builder on the stand and then we dropped it in the car and of course started for tuning and played with some in the garage. My point is this was babied from the get go with no abuse. Engine builder tore the engine down and found rod and main bearings appeared to have run out of oil. Outer bearing material was gone and wore into the bronze or copper inner coating. Never scratched the crank. He polished the crank and put it back together. He did mention that the oil pump pickup for some reason had been tilted up even though he had welded it into place. We dismissed the failure as the pickup possibly came out of the oil in the stock pan and briefly starved the crank. The builder stood the cost of the rebuild and both parties shook our heard and chalked the experience up to bad luck.

FYI - Builder added 7.5 quarts oil in my stock pan saying it should hold it just fine....need some opinions on this too.

Problem #2 had arisen. My brother lives 1/2 a country away fighting for our nation so his car is here in Nebraska and my father and I have been finishing his 66 while he is away. We finally get things in pretty good shape to take it to the annual cruise night festivities and the day before we go my dad is driving the car and starts to hear a slight tick. He opens the hood and it's pretty obvious that there is a faint knock coming from the right bank of the engine. It seems to only appear when up to operating temperature. The car is going back to the engine builder today to be torn down and diagnosed. It could be a strange coincidence, but this is sounding all too familiar.

So...I am needing some expert help with what we could possibly be doing wrong? I'm not terribly sold on the oil we are using, but it's been 10+ years since I've been involved with really working on these things and things have obviously changed a lot in that time. Oil pressure on startup is around 70 psi and upon running up to operating temp I am seeing around 30 to 40 psi and obviously increases with RPM. Keep in mind it has been over 100 degrees ambient temp here quite a lot. Neither engine appears to raise above 215 degrees and normally run around 200.

If you have time, please weigh in what you think could be going on or if you have had a similar experience so we can hopefully avoid any future problems. This is getting VERY old and the builder still has my dads 396 sitting there waiting to be built to put into his '67 SS and we are getting discouraged.

Please help!
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post #2 of 76 (permalink) Old Jul 23rd, 12, 1:25 PM
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Dan
 
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Re: Premature Bearing Failure

Your builder is highly suspect. I am under the impression he is in over his head.

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bored small big block
performance to be determined.
91 octane special.
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post #3 of 76 (permalink) Old Jul 23rd, 12, 1:32 PM
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Re: Premature Bearing Failure

From your description ,I'd suspect the oil pump pickup clearance wasn't set right and cavitated the oil causing oil starvation at the bearings.
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post #4 of 76 (permalink) Old Jul 23rd, 12, 2:15 PM
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Re: Premature Bearing Failure

Well it sure dont sound really good. Incorrect pick up placement would sure sound like the main cause, will be interesting to see what is found on your brothers engine. Running 7.5 qts in your stock pan is something I would not do. You are going to generate a lof of windage and oil foaming. The oil you are using is not going to cause the type of problem you have experienced. Oil pressures sound low for a high volume pump, but more than enough for safe operation.

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post #5 of 76 (permalink) Old Jul 23rd, 12, 2:32 PM
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Brian
 
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Re: Premature Bearing Failure

Sure seems like the common denominator is the engine builder. Putting 7.5qts in a stock pan isn't something a reputable builder would do, either.
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post #6 of 76 (permalink) Old Jul 23rd, 12, 3:19 PM Thread Starter
Phil
 
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Re: Premature Bearing Failure

I have a question about the 7.5 quarts in a pan? How far away from the crank does the oil need to be to avoid windage? If my understanding is correct at 3000 RPM there is 3 quarts of oil at least in the engine. This leaves 4.5 quarts in the pan. The builder measured how much 2 quarts of oil was in this pan and was only about 2" deep. This would mean there should only be about 5" of oil in the pan at 3000RPM. Granted my knowledge of windage and oil foaming is a little shady, so please fill me in on how this work? As for the stock pan.....I'm not sure if I mispoke or not. It appears stock, but the builder put a new pan on and did not mention that he went with a 7.5 quart pan and it does not appear to be deeper than a stock pan. Thanks for the input!
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post #7 of 76 (permalink) Old Jul 23rd, 12, 3:20 PM Thread Starter
Phil
 
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Re: Premature Bearing Failure

Quote:
Originally Posted by Loper93 View Post
I have a question about the 7.5 quarts in a pan? How far away from the crank does the oil need to be to avoid windage? If my understanding is correct at 3000 RPM there is 3 quarts of oil at least in the engine. This leaves 4.5 quarts in the pan. The builder measured how much 2 quarts of oil was in this pan and was only about 2" deep. This would mean there should only be about 5" of oil in the pan at 3000RPM. Granted my knowledge of windage and oil foaming is a little shady, so please fill me in on how this work? As for the stock pan.....I'm not sure if I mispoke or not. It appears stock, but the builder put a new pan on and did not mention that he went with a 7.5 quart pan and it does not appear to be deeper than a stock pan. Thanks for the input!
Also I should mention that I do not know if there is a windage tray in the pan, but I'm sure going to ask.

Thanks!
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post #8 of 76 (permalink) Old Jul 23rd, 12, 3:49 PM
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mike
 
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Re: Premature Bearing Failure

Ok.. 7.5 quarts is just too darn much for a stock pan. PERIOD>
Typically with a completely fresh build, all bone dry just assembled an engine will require about an additional quart to quart and a half for all of the galleys, crank etc... to be filled and still have correct oil level in pan, but 7.5 is too much and if that much was used after the 1st oil change after break in......
Gm spent a lot of time developing and designing these engines, and beleive it or not there is a reason for the markings on the dipstick. I have no problem with a guy running an extra half quart, especially with a HV pump, but.... chances of sucking the pan dry with a properly installed pick up tube is pretty difficult.

68 camaro
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post #9 of 76 (permalink) Old Jul 23rd, 12, 4:03 PM Thread Starter
Phil
 
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Re: Premature Bearing Failure

Quote:
Originally Posted by putput View Post
Ok.. 7.5 quarts is just too darn much for a stock pan. PERIOD>
Typically with a completely fresh build, all bone dry just assembled an engine will require about an additional quart to quart and a half for all of the galleys, crank etc... to be filled and still have correct oil level in pan, but 7.5 is too much and if that much was used after the 1st oil change after break in......
Gm spent a lot of time developing and designing these engines, and beleive it or not there is a reason for the markings on the dipstick. I have no problem with a guy running an extra half quart, especially with a HV pump, but.... chances of sucking the pan dry with a properly installed pick up tube is pretty difficult.
I understand where you are coming from. My opinion is if the oil pickup is correct this time the 5 quarts should be no problem. Sure hope it's just a case of bad luck. Thanks for the explanation!
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post #10 of 76 (permalink) Old Jul 23rd, 12, 6:28 PM
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Re: Premature Bearing Failure

I question the use of Diesel Engine oil in a spark ignition engine. What is the purpose of that?
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post #11 of 76 (permalink) Old Jul 23rd, 12, 8:52 PM
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Re: Premature Bearing Failure

There are a lot of folks still using diesel oil as it is supposed to have better characteristics for flat tappet cams. More zddp etc... The oil really doesnt know if it is in a gas or diesel engine, and sont hurt anything. An updat to something like Valvoline ZR1 would be a good inexpensive change over.

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post #12 of 76 (permalink) Old Jul 23rd, 12, 9:53 PM
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Re: Premature Bearing Failure

First and foremost thank your brother for his service to our country.

There is no one that can tell you for sure what happened, it is all just guessing without the parts in front of you and knowing all the details of the engine. Even with that, it can still be a crap shoot as to what really happened.

It sounds like the builder is a stand up guy; he took care of the first engine at no cost to you,( if I understand your post correct). Is the engine back in your car and running now? If so, is it ok?

The people that posted here that is the builders fault are just jack wagons, they don’t know the guy or even enough details to even make a statement like that.

Me personally I don’t do the diesel oil; I am not saying it don’t work, but diesel engines operate under totally different parameters then a gas engine. There are a bunch of oils made just for your application. Joe Gibbs, Lucas, Brad Penn and more. There is no reason to chance having the wrong additive package in the oil, when the correct oil is there and easy to get. I have all my customers running the Brad Penn. My dirt / drag engines that come back for maintenance look excellent using the Brad Penn, and the flat tappet dirt engine cams are always in good condition.

One thing that raised a flag to me was you coolant temp statement “neither engine appears to raise above 215 deg. How are you checking that and how long does the engine spend at that temp??

The 7 ˝ quarts and the oil pump pick-up sounds a little hokey to me, but without actually seeing what it was or talking to the builder we may be missing something in the translation.

Give me a brief rundown of what you’re doing with the engine from the time you get it home, through install and fire up. Did the builder use your carb, distributor, coil, etc on the test stand when he ran it?

It’s hard for people to believe but the builder can do everything correct and still have problems with a fresh engine. It happens to the best builders in the industry.

Keith


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post #13 of 76 (permalink) Old Jul 23rd, 12, 10:17 PM
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Re: Premature Bearing Failure

Quote:
Originally Posted by K-star automotive View Post
First and foremost thank your brother for his service to our country.

There is no one that can tell you for sure what happened, it is all just guessing without the parts in front of you and knowing all the details of the engine. Even with that, it can still be a crap shoot as to what really happened.

It sounds like the builder is a stand up guy; he took care of the first engine at no cost to you,( if I understand your post correct). Is the engine back in your car and running now? If so, is it ok?

The people that posted here that is the builders fault are just jack wagons, they don’t know the guy or even enough details to even make a statement like that.

Me personally I don’t do the diesel oil; I am not saying it don’t work, but diesel engines operate under totally different parameters then a gas engine. There are a bunch of oils made just for your application. Joe Gibbs, Lucas, Brad Penn and more. There is no reason to chance having the wrong additive package in the oil, when the correct oil is there and easy to get. I have all my customers running the Brad Penn. My dirt / drag engines that come back for maintenance look excellent using the Brad Penn, and the flat tappet dirt engine cams are always in good condition.

One thing that raised a flag to me was you coolant temp statement “neither engine appears to raise above 215 deg. How are you checking that and how long does the engine spend at that temp??

The 7 ˝ quarts and the oil pump pick-up sounds a little hokey to me, but without actually seeing what it was or talking to the builder we may be missing something in the translation.

Give me a brief rundown of what you’re doing with the engine from the time you get it home, through install and fire up. Did the builder use your carb, distributor, coil, etc on the test stand when he ran it?

It’s hard for people to believe but the builder can do everything correct and still have problems with a fresh engine. It happens to the best builders in the industry.

Keith
I guess I am a jackwagon because 7.5qts of oil in a 4 quart pan is irresponsible. Two failures in a row is reason for suspicion in my opinion.

'66 SS Chevelle

bored small big block
performance to be determined.
91 octane special.
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post #14 of 76 (permalink) Old Jul 24th, 12, 12:50 AM
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Tom Terrific II
 
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Re: Premature Bearing Failure

guess I'm a jackwagon too. 7.5? Don't do that again. If it's a fresh build filling for the first time use 6. most of a quart will get used up filling all the passages and nooks and crannies on a new engine.

Think about what he told you: "...mention that the oil pump pickup for some reason had been tilted up even though he had welded it into place."

So, either the weld is broke or he's full of BS.

Ditch the HV pump, you don't need it. think ZL-1, L-88, LS-7, LS-6, 427/435, 427/425, 396/425, etc. Guess which of these Chevy sold with an HV pump?

That's right, none of the above. Think about it.

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post #15 of 76 (permalink) Old Jul 24th, 12, 8:11 AM
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Re: Premature Bearing Failure

I am with you all on the 7 1/2 qts in a 5 qt pan. What I am trying to point out is that we are getting the info second hand from the engine owner , not from the builder. What if it has a stock 6 qt pan on it, and a 1 qt filter. Thats 7 qts right there, so it's only 1/2 qt over. 7 1/2 qt's is wrong, but my point is that we don't know enough to call the builder stupid yet..

Maybe he is, I don't know, but we need way more info before we make that call. The guy is not here to defend him self or give us all the facts.


Keith


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