Engine smokes due to leaking oil

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  #1  
Old 05-28-03, 10:42 AM
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Engine smokes due to leaking oil

I have an 1979 Trans AM (6.6 Liter 403 Olds engine)which has been off the road for about 9 years. I have started the engine every year or so, but after running for 10-15 minutes it starts to smoke (looks like smoke is coming from just above the spark plug housing below the Valve Covers). This smoking started after I replaced the stock intake manifold with an edlebrock aluminum intake. The car ran nicely, with the exception of the smoking.

I have tried re-sealing the valve cover gaskets, trying the cork gasket and also the rubber gasget, and when these failed I also used the liquid gasket sealer in addition to the gaskets. I also used the wire brush attachment on my drill to clean off all of the old gasket adhesive, and still having this problem. I thought the valve covers were fairly straight, but I wanted some input before buying new valve covers. I WOULD like a set of chrome covers, but want to make sure this is the problem before investing any money.

My fear is that the new manifold is somehow contributing to the smoking, as if oil or coolant is not flowing properly. In my younger days, I spent many a day under the hood of this car, but don't have the time anymore. Is there any possible solution before I resort to removing the intake manifold?

Thanks!!
 
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  #2  
Old 05-28-03, 11:21 AM
Joe_F
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Coming from a fellow F body guy with a '79 Trans Am (mine is Pontiac 400 10th Anniversary edition though), the Olds 403 is a slug. Keep the stock intake manifold and keep it mostly stock.

Hopping up Oldsmobile motors is big bucks. The 403 responds well to mods, but you have to spend the money. "Ain't" just in the intake. It's in the exhaust, carburetion, gearing, etc.

Oldsmobile motors are notorious valve cover leakers. You might try to find a set of covers on another 403 or even a 350 Oldsmobile in the junkyard. They should be plentiful. I'm pretty sure all of these motors in the Oldsmobile range use the same valve covers, so I'd try that first. Use good quality Felpro gaskets with stock parts and the leaks should subside (for a while).

Good luck. I'm an hour from you in NYC and this one would make a good parts car . LOL
 
  #3  
Old 05-28-03, 12:47 PM
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Joe F,

Thanks for the info. The only reason I installed the edlebrock alum. intake is that a buddy of mine had one for a 403, but he got rid of the car. Also, one of the vacuum ports (I forget the name of the part) that sits on the manifold was defective (causing the engine to run super rough) and the bolts were rusted on. Instead of forcefully removing rusted bolts and having to tap new threads, I figured I would just put on the new manifold. Did the trick, except for the leak part.

I will try felpro gaskets and see what happens.

Thanks Again!
 
  #4  
Old 05-28-03, 01:49 PM
Joe_F
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Lol. A good shot of PB Blaster and an impact wrench would whip them right out .
 
  #5  
Old 05-28-03, 10:53 PM
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Daronson,

You aren't tightening the valve cover bolts too much, are you? tighten them by hand using just a socket and an extension, then turn them 3/4 turn more with the ratchet. Make sure the gasket flange is straight with a straightedge. An easy fix would be cast aluminum valve covers. They don't distort. (easily anyway).
 
  #6  
Old 05-29-03, 05:58 AM
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At first I thought I might have tightened the covers too much, so I then used a torque wrench and tightened them to the recommended torque per Chilton's manual.

Is there any type of gasket adhesive I should use? I usually just spray the gasket with the sticky red gasket adhesive.

The felpro gaskets, are they the rubber ones or cork-like material?

I may just have to look into cast aluminum valve covers if this doesn't work, are they expensive? any particular brand?
 
  #7  
Old 05-29-03, 09:04 AM
Joe_F
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They're leakers too. Follow me....

The gasket does the sealing NOT the sealer. The sealer just holds the gasket in place when you set the valve cover in place. The factory probably uses RTV sealant originally and no gasket.

Go to the junkyard, pick up two other Oldsmobile covers like yours and give it a whirl. You probably have a bent cover.
 
  #8  
Old 05-29-03, 09:40 AM
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How can I tell if junkyard covers are bent too? Chances are I prob. overtightened the covers at SOME point in time, and just looking at the covers they don't "appear" to be bent. Then again, I am not a mechanic by trade, just a bean counter who knew enough about cars in my earlier days to keep'em on the road.
 
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Old 05-29-03, 03:22 PM
Joe_F
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You don't. That's the gamble with used parts . (Which is why a T/A deserves new OEM ones...lol).

If you put them on a table, do they sit straight not look bent or warped?
 
  #10  
Old 05-29-03, 05:59 PM
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As Joe said, set them on a table/bench, "sight" along the covers, to see if they're bent... Also, flip the over and take a look around each bolt hole.. What you're looking for is the area around the bolt hole to appear "mounded" up.. (remember, you're now looking at the surface the mates to the head). It's very possible to look along the edge of a valve cover, oil pan, tranny pan and had it look straight, but have the area around each hole "mounded" from over tightening.. If this is the case, light taps with a ballpeen hammer on and around the bolt hole (with the cover on a hard surface) should straighten the cover for you.
 
  #11  
Old 05-30-03, 05:03 AM
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Msargent,

You just answered my next question!! It's been awhile since I worked on the car (other than starting to check for leak). It must have been a few years since I pulled the valve covers off, and I DID lay them on the concrete garage floor (It was a new house, so I believe the floor was level) and they seemed straight.

However, I don't think I checked each bolt hole, which is most likely the problem, ESPECIALLY if I overtightened the bolts at some time.

I will pull the covers, check the bolt holes, and straighten the best I can, then try sealing it again. If this doesn't work I will try the junkyard approach (It's scary thinking back to when I was 18 and going to junkyards every other weekend for T/A parts!!)

Thanks for all your help everyone!!

Dave
 
  #12  
Old 05-30-03, 05:54 AM
Joe_F
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If you can find T/A parts. They are scarce. 2nd gen cars simply do not get junked. LOL. Trust me, I'm in the same area as you are and I don't see virtually ANY 2 gens in yards around here (I'm in the NYC area).

When I do, I either pick them completely clean or buy out the shell and strip it clean .

I'm a neat nut, so everything must have a place .
 
  #13  
Old 06-04-03, 10:00 AM
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One unanswered question - Is there much of a difference between cork and rubber gaskets? In the past, I always used whatever the parts guy brought out to the counter, but Felpro makes both, and I want to know if one is superior over the other.

Thanks!!

Dave
 
  #14  
Old 06-04-03, 01:33 PM
Joe_F
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This one could go on forever .

Rubber is usually better as the cork is a bear to remove the next time without chemicals & scraping. Oldsmobile engines are leakers, so I usually go with rubber. I have them on my 84 Delta 88 with a 307 which is the baby brother to this 403.
 
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