With the plugs out it shouldn't take hardly any effort to turn the engine
over. I'm assuming you're using a large ratchet and socket on the balancer
bolt. If this is an older engine or one that's been setting for a while
load the cylinders up with WD40, let it sit overnight, then try it. That
will hopefully break the rings free of the cylinder walls and prevent any
scoring when you first move the pistons.
This is an engine which runs. It starts OK cold but the starter will not
crank it when it has been warmed up, the current it is pulling makes
smoke come out of the starter motor. I took the plugs out and put a
socket and torque wrench on the balancer bolt, it took 50 lb-ft which I
thought was excessive.
I had the same problem on my 455 and found out I had not spaced the
starter correctly. There are shims available to space the starter from
the block otherwise the gears will bind into themselves and cause the
over current situation. Good luck.
On Sun, 3 Apr 2005 22:37:58 +0100, David Toft
With the pugs out and the trans in nutural, you can spin it by hand by
pulling the belts, depending on how may pullies area attached. Had a
79 with the 301 and just the power steering pump and alt. No trouble
Sorry for the late response but this sounds more like a timing issue.
Advanced timing causes hard starting when warm. This might solve your
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Tuesday June 07 2005, David Toft writes to All:
> miles ago, Has anyone any suggestions as to why it bent
Maybe the valve seized up for some reason, then the rod bent? Just a
What year model is the engine? Isn't this the engine you said was hard to
turn over with the plugs out?
You said the pushrod wasn't bent 200 miles ago; why did you have it out? I'm
beginning to see something that makes sense here. Let me know. AW.
The full story is that I bought it as a non runner with a
"reconditioned" engine already fitted. The car is 1978, the block 1974
and the heads something else.
I couldn't turn the engine over at all, so I took the heads off thinking
it might be because a piston had rusted in its cylinder. I found that 7
of the pistons were in the wrong way round, so I took the sump off to
fix that. I then found that ALL the big end caps were on the wrong rods.
The crank looked as if it had just been reground and all the bearing
shells looked new. I put all this right and the engine turned over OK.
It has been fitted with an oil cooler and remote oil filter. The oil
filter is about twice the size of a standard one and is fitted high on
the R/H inner wing, what didn't strike me as significant was that it was
fitted upside down.
I had many, many attempts at getting it running properly, the timing was
way out, the leads were on the wrong plugs, the electronics in the
distributor were open circuit, the carburettor was flooding, the starter
motor wasn't shimmed correctly, etc, etc. Every time I tried to start it
the oil filter had drained (because it had been fitted upside down), so
that had to be filled before anything got to the bearings. I think the
very tight engine is caused by the fact that it is partially seized. I
have just taken the crank for regrinding again as the journals are in a
I also noticed that there were several (relatively) large pieces of
black plastic in the oil ways of the crankshaft, some of which had parts
of a fine internal thread on them. Any idea what this could have been?
Thanks for any advice,
Now that is one heck of a "rest of the story". It seems like the person you
bought the car from shouldn't be building engines! It also sounds like you
know more about engines than they did, being able to spot reversed pistons
I hope they haven't "fixed it to death" when it comes to the engine. That
400 is an awesome engine. Bigger than most but not too big. I would like to
see a picture of the mystery black parts in the oil gallery of the crank. If
you can photo it on something of scale that would be great. It sounds like
some type of shipping plugs that are fitted into parts to keep out debris
until it is to be used. Like they were not removed and the part installed
I do have some suggestions:
1. If feasible, put the stock oil filter arrangement back on.
2. Do you know what "plastigage" is and how to use it? Since the engine was
run misassembled, the plastigage will show you if a connecting rod is bent.
If a rod is bent, it is not usually visible.
3. Remove the oil gallery plugs in the block and blow out every oil passage.
4. If you have the crank out of the block then you have the pistons out as
well. Check the piston ring end gap in the bore of the block. If the guy
that built the engine first couldn't put pistons in frontward, he didn't
These are the bits in the crankshaft, not a very good picture I'm
The scale is in millimetres
This bit was under the bypass valve in the oil filter mounting casting.
Again the scale is millimetres
Apart from the remote filter the car has been fitted with an oil cooler
and a thermostatic bypass valve. I am beginning to suspect that the bits
came from this setup as they are too large to go through the tea
strainer on the oil pump pick-up let alone the oil filter.
Already doing this, just got to sort out a suitable filter
I don't think they are as there are no unusual wear marks on the pistons
or the bores
I think you are right on the money. I don't know how the cooler is plumbed
in relation to the filter, but the debris came from one of the two. It's
amazing how someone can add an oil cooler and a remote filter to make the
engine last longer and wind up causing it certain death. Keep us posted....
Im not a Pontiac engine man (I like them but I don't know them as well
as some here). If I found crap like that in a engine I bought, well put
it like this, shallow grave for the idiot.
First thing you need is a Pontiac specfic engine manuial. You need to
identify every part, know what you have, and make sure it's all compadible.
Next you need to remove the remote filter stuff, and the oil cooler
stuff. Here in America in the summers 100 to 105 degree air temps (37C
to 41C roughly)are commen. Pontiac engine survive that here with out
added oil coolers.
Finding Pontiac engine parts over there is like me trying to get
Sterling or Morgan engine parts here. Not very easy. Your best bet it to
deal with companies like Northern Automotive, Jegs, Summit & Egge Engine
Company. They will all ship to you.
You should probably also email firstname.lastname@example.org
He hasn't been on the group lately, but he is a pontiac restoration expert.
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