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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    New Haven, CT, USA
    Posts
    601

    Default Ugh - engine shutdown, no oil pressure on cranking

    As part of my ongoing saga below, I installed new HEI distributors. The one on the port engine has been making a rattling/squealing noise inside the cap. I've been going back and forth with the company that sold them as to what to do next. The thought was, swap the two distributors and see if the sound moves and it did.
    I did just the distributor first, then the caps to narrow down the test.

    In the middle of testing, the engine sputtered and shut down which it's never done before. As I'm cranking, I don't see the oil pressure coming up. I'm wondering if this relavent as there was a question about the distributor shim and possibly bottoming out on the oil drive gear. The heads have never been off and with just the gasket I measured more than enough clearance. The noise I was hearing was an intermittent squeal/rattle which did not sound deep in the engine.

    What happens if the distributor bottoms out and what would it sound like? I just installed an extra plug and cranked it over, no spark. I could just barely hear the noise in question and then it sputtered once and stalled. I don't think that my '88 vintage has an oil shutdown feature.

    thanks
    Bob
    Last edited by bobct; 08-03-2017 at 01:15 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    New Haven, CT, USA
    Posts
    601

    Default ignore my oil pressure post

    My port battery went completely dead in the midst of all this and shutdown. My corresponding IGN switch was not on so the battery was not charging.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Maryland - USA
    Posts
    6,767

    Default Re: Ugh - engine shutdown, no oil pressure on cranking

    No oil shutdown feature on the 1988's.....from the factory anyhow. The factory uses it only on electric fuel pump applications.

    The oil pump is driven by the vertical tang, on the bottom of the distributor shaft gear - looks like a straight blade screwdriver's business end, enclosed by a hollow cylinder. If you don't have any spark on the engine with no oil pressure, I'd suggest pulling the cap and checking to see if the rotor spins when cranking. if it doesn't, that's a good reason for no spark and no oil pressure....if that turns out to be the case, then check the gear on the dristributor and its mate on the camshaft....if they look ok, I'd say its the camshaft drive or the cam snapped. checking the rocker arms would be next from there...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Fairport, NY
    Posts
    1,625

    Default Re: Ugh - engine shutdown, no oil pressure on cranking

    Ugg; The distributor gear is driven by the cam gear and the oil pump shaft is driven by an internal feature is the dist gear (from memory). there is a plastic alignment coller on the bottom of the oil drive shaft that should keep it aligned and of course the block casting up top. So, if the distrib is tuning and there is no oil pressure with good oil level, seems like a major lack of engagement somewhere.
    I've never shimmed the BBC distributor, not sure how/why it would need one. Gears mesh on this deal without adjustment, depending on a good distr. for length.
    Pull the distrib and check for the, what I remember to be a screwdriver like drive feature or pin in the gear.


    sorry, simultaneous and largely redundant typing by me!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Maryland - USA
    Posts
    6,767

    Default Re: Ugh - engine shutdown, no oil pressure on cranking

    and the drive shaft for the gear is pinned...at the collar....so you could check the manifold gasket surface to oil pump drive shaft depth and compare with the other engine....

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    New Haven, CT, USA
    Posts
    601

    Default Re: Ugh - engine shutdown, no oil pressure on cranking

    Sorry, I should have been more clear it turned out to be false alarm. For your entertainment, here's my domino story.

    Over the winter, I replaced all of my gauges and wiring. The only thing I didn't get working was one of my ignition lockout breakers which are in the cabin. I don't have keys at the helm, just IGN switches. So that particular engine will start even with the breaker in the off position.

    I happened to be troubleshooting the distributor noise on that particular engine and had the distributor in/out a few times and in particular the oil drive engagement/shim height off the intake manifold. The engine was running, it sputtered and shut down. I went up to the helm and the oil pressure wasn't building as the engine was cranking. I immediately thought the worst.

    It turns out that by having the switch off the battery wasn't getting charged and I ran it all the way down until it was dead. The entire time my engine was idling it was running off of the battery. In hindsight, the engine was cranking too slow to build up any oil pressure or maybe the voltage was too low to get an accurate reading.

    It's amazing how these completely unrelated events crossed paths at the exact same time. I really knew there was no oil shutdown feature but it was impossible not to jump to that conclusion the way it all happened.

    Bob
    Last edited by bobct; 08-08-2017 at 08:43 AM.

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