Posted By: Hellomrwilson Valve train clatter - Sat Jul 04 2015 05:38 PM
Hi guys,
I just cranked my 261 on the dolly. I set the valves cold .006" intakes and .018" exhausts following a sequence I found on here. I'm getting oil at the top and have good oil pressure.
I have a cycling of excessive noise clatter from cam up. Like I said, cycling... it will run smooth for a bit, then start clattering.
Can anyone offer insight on what's going on?
Posted By: Hellomrwilson Re: Valve train clatter - Sat Jul 04 2015 06:25 PM
OK I went back outside and cranked it again and observed it to see if I could detect anything, and I did.
Oil would flow at the top and it would run smooth. Then I noticed the oil would appear to stop flowing and it would start clattering.
I don't know why the oil pump is delivering like that. Maybe while the engine is out, I should just replace the oil pump?
Posted By: Hotrod Lincoln Re: Valve train clatter - Sat Jul 04 2015 07:19 PM
What's your oil pressure doing when the oil flow stops? If it's a pump problem, the pressure would have to be dropping to virtually zero.

What cam and lifters are you running, and are you sure it's a mechanical lifter cam?
Posted By: 32vld Re: Valve train clatter - Sat Jul 04 2015 08:22 PM
Have you had the engine apart?

Engines warm up and expand due to heat and then due to being worn out beyond clearances they lose oil pressure because oil leaks out internally so there is not enough oil to reach the head and valve train.
Posted By: Tommy Re: Valve train clatter - Sun Jul 05 2015 12:57 AM
Loosen the distributor clamp and push down on the dist. Just incase it is not fully engaging the oil pump.
Posted By: Deve Re: Valve train clatter - Sun Jul 05 2015 01:33 AM
You can also take the distributor out and run the pump with a drill. Oil pressure should be 30 psi on a fresh engine using the drill. Tommy could have something there. You shouldn't have more than about 3/8" between the top of the dist shaft and the top of the vac advance bracket.
Posted By: Hellomrwilson Re: Valve train clatter - Sun Jul 05 2015 02:02 AM
Jerry (Hotrod Lincoln, I have the engine in a dolly so there's not a gage hooked up. I have capped off the connection that the oil pressure line goes to. I might add that once it shot off (a valve stem cap) and oil shot a good 25 feet before I turned the engine off. That's not to say the pressure is constant.
The cam is the original 261 cam. The lifters are original also (solid lifters).

32vld, Yes sir I just rebuilt the engine. I didn't expect any complications with the oil supply.

Tommy I hear ya brother... I've learned that lesson the hard way already.
My first plan of action tomorrow, will be to pull the distributor and run the oil pump with a drill. I would think the same intermittent problem should occur... right? If it delivers oil constantly I'll suspect the distributor to oil pump connection, though I already checked and the distributor is seated all the way down.
When the flow showed up at the rockers, it was a good flow so I don't suspect any blockage... besides, I had everything cleaned and cleared when I rebuilt the engine (block/head/rocker shafts). When the oil flowed, it did very well.
If I'm left suspecting the distributor to oil pump connection afterwards, I'll put the engine back on the stand and flip it bottom up to try to figure this out. I guess I'd need to do this anyway if I were to replace the oil pump. I need to also verify my new bearings while I'm at it... eek
I'll post what I find tomorrow evening... sheesh, I had hoped to get the engine back in the truck this holiday weekend.
Posted By: Hellomrwilson Re: Valve train clatter - Sun Jul 05 2015 02:39 AM
Oh... and thank you all for your input! Truly, you guys are appreciated.
As this total restoration project has been lonesome for me, Sometimes, it just takes talking a problem out with like minded fellows to feel I'm not truly alone with it and can figure out some problem issues with some great helps!
Posted By: Hotrod Lincoln Re: Valve train clatter - Sun Jul 05 2015 04:09 AM
Running an engine without some sort of oil pressure monitoring device is just a little too much like playing Russian Roulette to suit me. An aftermarket direct-reading oil pressure and temp gauge are cheap insurance. Can I interest you in a high-stakes poker game? I have a feeling you'd draw to an inside straight!
Posted By: Fred T Re: Valve train clatter - Sun Jul 05 2015 09:54 AM
If the distributor shaft isn't seated in the pump it won't move any oil.

I was taught that if you replace the bearings you replace the pump. If not I would suspect some crud in the pressure relief valve. You can buy a cheap oil pressure gauge for a few bucks and use it to check the pressure while on the stand.

While you had the engine apart did you replace the cam bearings?
Posted By: Hellomrwilson Re: Valve train clatter - Sun Jul 05 2015 02:57 PM
Fred T, yes sir, the cam bearings were replaced.
That's an interesting tip about the oil pump!
Posted By: 52Carl Re: Valve train clatter - Mon Jul 06 2015 01:15 AM
I just made a simple bracket bolted to a hole in the top of my frame to hold my stock gauge cluster for engine break-in. It gives me oil pressure, temperature, and charge rate (alternator).
Too much to go wrong with a new rebuild to leave the oil pressure and temperature to chance.
Posted By: Deve Re: Valve train clatter - Mon Jul 06 2015 02:04 AM
That is very true. If you dont want to use the stock gauges because they are in the truck, its not expensive to go with electrical sense gauges for this. You can get the part numbers I used here:

Nice thing about having electric water temp and oil pressure is you can verify your stock gauges are reading about the same. It's a good idea to monitor your oil pressure and water temp for sure.
Posted By: Hellomrwilson Re: Valve train clatter - Mon Jul 06 2015 01:21 PM
That's a neat set-up! It was very thorough in instruction. I saved it to my reference folder under the restoration of the truck. I also have a Test Stand set of instructions that I had saved prior if you're interested.
Truly if I did a lot of engine rebuilds, something like this would be an absolute must have for me. As a shade tree with no shop, I just manage to scrape by with what I have, right out in the driveway or in the garage.
I'll find an oil pressure gage and temp gage for the next crank-up test. Thanks for that suggestion!
I guess if a person rebuilt a lot of engines, the oil pump on again-off again delivery might have been experienced before. I've rebuilt a few engines, but have never run across this. I did a search and found a few cases of the same problem by other Bolters.
I decided to buy an oil pump and it's on the way, with a few other items I've been needing for the truck. I'll save my old pump and rebuild it later.
I haven't pulled the pan and verified bearing condition yet...
Posted By: Hellomrwilson Re: Valve train clatter - Mon Jul 20 2015 01:56 AM
OK guys, I'm back with that report.
I pulled the Oil Pan and inspected the Bearings. I saw some slight wiping and scratches on a few of them... enough to decide to spring for new Main and Rod Bearings while I had the Engine out. I also bought an Oil Pump!
Honestly, I still don't know why my old pump was problematic but what matters now, is that after installing a gauge cluster to the Engine Dolly to monitor the Oil Pressure, Temperature and output from the generator, the Engine is now cranked and running very smoothly and oiling well with good constant pressure! HOORAH!

The 261 on the Dolly

It cranks easily... and I'm happy with it! I'll run it just a bit more on the stand and I hope to install it in the truck soon... maybe next weekend.

I'm so ready to get the '59 on the road again!

The '59, my better half and me

As always, thanks for the help.
Till next time!

Posted By: tclederman Re: Valve train clatter - Mon Jul 20 2015 02:16 AM

What is the year of your 261 (sorry, I did not see/remember the year)? Presumably, 1957 or earlier (with by-pass oil filter)?

It's a nice looking engine. Also, nice second photo.
Posted By: Hellomrwilson Re: Valve train clatter - Mon Jul 20 2015 02:38 AM
Tim, the Casting numbers on the head and block led me to 1962. There's no stamping on the distributor pad.

Posted By: tclederman Re: Valve train clatter - Mon Jul 20 2015 03:06 AM

Forgive my continued questioning. You might have taken care of this.

It looks you have small diameter oil filter line. Do you have a by-pass oil filter?

The 1962 261 is normally set up for a full-flow oil filtration system, requiring 1/2" oil filter lines on both sides of the filter canister. It looks like you have a smaller diameter metal tube and smaller than 1/2" inner diameter lines.

I think you can set up that year-engine for a by-pass filter, but I have never seen that done.

What you have might be OK (I might be wrong bringing this to your attention).
Posted By: Deve Re: Valve train clatter - Mon Jul 20 2015 03:19 AM
Mine doesn't have any stamping on the distributor pad either Jerry. Its a replacement engine and was made in 1964. When I got it, it had the dowel OUT meaning it was set up for no filter or a bypass filter. You can read alot about your engine here:

Its nice if its equipped for a full flow system to use it. It will make the engine last longer. It sure looks nice!
Posted By: Pre '68 Dave Re: Valve train clatter - Mon Jul 20 2015 03:56 AM
This may be a Canadian 261 which only had bypass filters.
I see front side mount provisions, this was only on 235 up to 1959, 261 do some strange things though.
I suspect this is a 1955-59 engine.
Posted By: Hellomrwilson Re: Valve train clatter - Mon Jul 20 2015 01:56 PM
Tim, thank you for questioning buddy, I don't mind at all. That's how I learn things.
You are right that if set up for full flow, the lines would need to be larger than the 1/4" ones.
In this case, the bypass dowel is flush, so the engine oil galley is open.
So basically in my situation, the filter gets only a portion flowing through and is mostly for looks.
I decided to keep it this way because I felt that once the dowel was pushed in, it was final.
My intent is to still change the oil on schedule. The truck won't be a daily driver.
Deve and Dave, when I first got the engine it had no filter, only a metal 1/2" line bridging from port to port.
I think they did that, just to be safe in case some goober like me came along and pushed in the dowel over time, not knowing what the results would be.
I bought the filter off Ebay because I thought it was a cool addition to the engine, correct to the time period.
As mentioned, the Casting Numbers from the Head and Block led me to the Engine Date.
The engine was a replacement, found in a '58 parts truck I bought from a work buddy for $300.
When I initially tore the engine down, everything measured close to factory specs.
The cylinders didn't even have a ridge and I only had to hone them.
The engine is a true 261 all the way to the carb and cam.
Posted By: tclederman Re: Valve train clatter - Mon Jul 20 2015 03:39 PM

Better safe than sorry. It looks like you are being thoughtful and careful. Keep asking questions, and keep considering/ignoring replies/suggestions (as appropriate).

Please give us a road-drive report.
Posted By: Hellomrwilson Re: Valve train clatter - Mon Jul 20 2015 04:39 PM
Thanks Tim, will do!
I'm really anxious to get this puppy back on the road!
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