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Bummer! No oil Pressure

Dave6T4

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After working on my 1964 Dodge Polara, since the Pandemic, I figured I had it ready to fire up today. My buddy and I worked on it Saturday and today and got the 440 engine running, only to find we had no oil pressure. I had tried priming it with my power drill, and foiund it only had a slight resistance when spinning CCW, and none when spinning CW. I know the pump and distributor run CCW. I have primed other big blocks, and when they start to achieve pressure, it almost jerks the drill out of your hands. This was not the case today. Yesterday, I had the restricter valve and spring out of the pump, thinking maybe the valve got stuck in the bore. I cleaned everything up and replaced the stock blue spring with a stiffer black one. I have a new filter and 5 L. of 10 W 40 oil in it I have the stock sender with red light in the dash, plus an aftermarket mechanical gauge under the dash. Neither gauge showed any pressure. Curiously, the hydraulic lifters were not clattering.
The car has not been on the road for 20 years, but I would occasionally fire the engine up to make sure it did not get stuck. The car was a strong runner when I parked it in my new heated garage 20 years ago. When I had the engine out of the car about 4 years ago when the car body was getting restored, I pulled the intake,water pump, and heads off and put new gaskets in it. At the same time, I coated everything with GM.Engine Oil Supplement. I use this stuff at every oil change in my old cars. I don't think the engine has 10,000 miles on it since a quality rebuild. I figure that either the pump or filter has f**ked up. After talking to a couple of Hemi racing buddies, I think that the inner rotor and shaft have separated. I have a new Melling M63HP pump on order from RockAuto (made in USA). I had it all lined up for new exhaust for tomorrow, but cancelled that. I am pretty disappointed. After working on these early B-bodies for about 50 years, this is not my first rodeo.
 
It couldn't be anything too serious if it was running strong when you parked it. Maybe the filter is clogged up or something like that. 'Major engine damage doesn't just happen because it is sitting.
Change the filter, it is cheap enough.
 
A possibility is when the engine was out, did it sit on the pan and Crack the pickup.
That's always my first thought.
Never heard of the rotor separation theory.
But who knows.
 
Every 440 I have started after rebuild has required me to crack the oil filter At startup before would get pressure. My recommendation is open filter slightly, try priming and get ready to tighten it back up fast before makes a real mess
 
Do you usually have a mechanical gauge set up while priming with a drill?
 
Maybe a long shot here - But if a lifter has popped out of its bore due to a bent pushrod or other valve train issue - the engine can't make oil pressure even when the oil is pumping. If you still have issues after putting a new pump in (Or while you wait for one) - Maybe rotate the engine with the valve covers off to make absolutely sure all the rockers be rocken' to rule that slim possibility out.
 
Good luck with the new pump Dave. Some say to pack the pump with Vaseline to help it prime.
 
After talking to a couple of Hemi racing buddies, I think that the inner rotor and shaft have separated.
Certainly easy enough to bench test a BB pump. If it passes, try the Vaseline trick.
 
Did you pull a new oil filter and let it sit for awhile without running. Sounds like pump lost it's prime, even if you put oil in filter. You might beable to prime pump through relief valve. Lefty way works also. If you put on a new pump clean it then vaseline it.
 
Assuming none of the internal plugs haven't been removed, oil pan not dented agaist or damaging the pick-up. Either the relief valve/spring is installed incorrectly/or stuck open. Oil filter check valve stuck. Or the pump is worn enough it's having difficulty pulling prime. Really no other thing that could cuase this issue.
Doug
 
Last spring I had similar issues, it turned out to be an incorrect gasket between the block and pump...

My Oil Pump Won't Prime Thread
Thanks for the thread on priming the oil pump. I had never heard of the Vaseline trick. I never had the pump off the engine, so I don't think the gasket is an issue. I never sit the engine on the floor on the oil pan. Years ago, I made a wooden box out of 2" X 8" the engine could sit down into, resting on the siderails/ pan of the engine. I made it with wheels, so it could roll around.
Over the years, I have my troubles with big block oil pumps. My first experience happened over 50 years ago with my '62 Dart that I had put a 383, 4-speed into. At a stop sign, the engine idled down, and the OIL light popped on. I found that if I kept the rev's up, it would stay off. Luckily, I was near my local mechanic's garage and took it there. He was a Mopar guy himself and immediately knew it was a sticky relief valve. He showed me how to remove and clean it, and all was good.
Next was my '64 Polara 500 convertible when it still had a 383 in it. I was stopped at a traffic light in town, and noticed the oil gauge needle heading for the cellar. I was able to quickly pull into a nearby parking lot and shut it off. I checked the oil level,which was OK. I restarted the engine and the lifters all started hammering. Then I knew I had no pressure. A new pump fixed this one up.
Another time, I was coming home from work with my '67 Coronet wagon powered by another 383. I was sitting on the highway, waiting for oncoming traffic to clear before turning into my laneway. All of a sudden, the OIL light popped on, and all the lifters started hammering. Now in my laneway, I quickly shut my engine off. A new pump fixed this one, too. So, in 3 previous occasions I have had an oil pump fail, with no serious damage to my engine.
 
Heck, I'd try packing the pump on the engine now and giving it a whirl to see if it primes.
No risk in that, right?
 
Try easiest first. Loosen filter slightly and prime. Be ready to tighten quickly. I've had to do this on fire up for every big block I've had
 
I have a new Melling pump on order, and it should be here Friday. I am an old geezer with a bad back working without a hoist. I don't want to pull the old pump, dick around with it, and reinstall it only to find I might have to replace it anyway. I will be sure to try filling the new pump with Vaseline or heavy gear oil. It is pretty hard to prefill the filter, since it lays on its side, and is a PITA to wrangle the filter down in place.
 
Maybe a long shot here - But if a lifter has popped out of its bore due to a bent pushrod or other valve train issue - the engine can't make oil pressure even when the oil is pumping. If you still have issues after putting a new pump in (Or while you wait for one) - Maybe rotate the engine with the valve covers off to make absolutely sure all the rockers be rocken' to rule that slim possibility out.
The valve train was absolutely quiet, not even clicking, which I found strange.
 
Some good old fashioned assembly lube of your liking will work as well as Vaseline.
 
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