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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The sad: After building a stroked 351w, I had a tragedy. I've mourned and now I'm ready to man up and do that right thing.
After hauling the freshly built 408 from the engine builder to my car guy who installed it. I was so excited to get everything back.

Problem: the dip stick only showed 1 quart.
The builder said that new fancy chrome stick was wrong, get a normal one, you've got 5 quarts in there.
Over the next 2 months I tuned and fought with the new carb and engine. It just got worse and sounded terrible. I kept test driving... probably between 50 and 100 miles total. I got the new stick in, and even decided to change my expensive break in oil After only a few miles. Turns out... there WAS only 1 quart of oil. Now, I don't know if it was the engine guy, or the installer... DON'T CARE. Dirty oil and probably barely being picked up by the pump for 100 miles!
The noise went away and it only smoked for a brief bit. Runs really nice now and was easy to tune.
SO: I can tell that the power has gone down about 25% or more.
What should I do? Tear the top off and see if anything got scalded? Put new rings in? Start with compression test?
I was going to start the EFI conversion, but I want this to be right first. Even if it means doing it the right way takes longer.
Where should I start guys? I'm not much of an engine guy, but I can do somethings.
I'll take it to someone if I need to, but I want to ask the right questions.
Thank you,
Matt
 

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That’s terrible.

I would pull the pan and check the bearings. The likelihood of them not being beat to hell seems small.
 

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You cant drive a car 100 miles and multiple tune sessions, revving, and checking things with only 1 quart of oil. Sorry for your situation, when torn down it will show problems it will need a refresh at the very least.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I think I will pull the pan and look. I may also compression check each cylinder. I've just got to start somewhere. Crazy that it sounds fine and is so enjoyable to drive now. I can't say how sad it was to realize. I am NOT the guy who ever runs low on oil. I should not have believed him, but he just built it so...?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
It actually did. It was just at the end when I was doing a last tuning try that the o.p. guage flipped back and forth. I think that's what clued me in.
But maybe because it was so dirty (aka circulating) and the good purple zinc stuff, maybe there's not that much damage! 🤔
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Did you have oil pressure the entire time?
It actually did. It was just at the end when I was doing a last tuning try that the o.p. guage flipped back and forth. I think that's what clued me in.
But maybe because it was so dirty (aka circulating) and the good purple zinc stuff, maybe there's not that much damage! 🤔
 

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I work all own mechanical 100% but it’s been a while since I tore down a motor (let alone a new one). I concur that it’s not likely you started with 1 QT and got this far. You likely burnt a lot off quickly. Now that it’s oiled up if it’s running without clacking and clattering noises, holds good oil pressure (35-60 psi tho my 302 is always a solid 50-60 psi) keep driving it as it’s still breaking in. Motors that are breaking in will burn more oil. My rebuilt 302 sucked up 1 qt every 500 miles at first now it’s more like 1/2 qt every 1500. Rings can take a while to seat.
You can also check the compression etc but if you’re still breaking in may get variations between cylinders. I would not pull the pin etc until you’ve checked al that. If it is damaged I’d pull the whole things and go through it. It won’t just be bearings that are scored and toasted.
 

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It won’t just be bearings that are scored and toasted.
This is a true statement. "If" it was ran dry for very long there would be wear shown any place where moveable metal touches other metal (that being moveable or stationary.) I keep thinking of those poor valve guides . . . . .

Hoping for the best!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Sad for sure, but I have high hopes, and am finally resolved to do what I need to... I'm thinking about going back to the builder, not blaming him, but throwing myself on his mercy and get him to brake it down. Pay him, but let him try to make it right. I want this right before I put on the efi system. Or before anything really. I think I ultimately have to blame one of the monkees working for the installer. Probably took a brake after putting in one quart.
And ultimately myself. Don't even listen to the professionals that just put in your engine and said they put all 5 quarts of oil in. I should have drained and checked myself.
 

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I've read this thread twice now. Something is just not adding up. No way (IMO) you can run a 351W with only 1 quart of oil in it for any length of time. Even with pre-lube, it wouldn't take long for it to seize, again, IMO.

You say the stick showed only 1 quart. I don't recall seeing a stick that had oil on it at 1 quart. Not saying ones not made, I just don't recall seeing one.

Problem: the dip stick only showed 1 quart.

I got the new stick in, and even decided to change my expensive break in oil After only a few miles. Turns out... there WAS only 1 quart of oil.
Thank you,
Matt
So, when you drained it, only one quart came out of the pan?

I don't see how you would have oil pressure with just one quart in the pan.

Interested to see what you find...

Allen
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I've read this thread twice now. Something is just not adding up. No way (IMO) you can run a 351W with only 1 quart of oil in it for any length of time. Even with pre-lube, it wouldn't take long for it to seize, again, IMO.

You say the stick showed only 1 quart. I don't recall seeing a stick that had oil on it at 1 quart. Not saying ones not made, I just don't recall seeing one.



So, when you drained it, only one quart came out of the pan?

I don't see how you would have oil pressure with just one quart in the pan.

Interested to see what you find...

Allen
Exactly! When I drained it...1 quart. The dip stick barely had oil on it from the beginning...remember, he told me it was the wrong (not long enough) stick. Not true... it shows perfectly now when filled.
The last "tuning" attempt was met with angry sounds. That's Why I shut it all off and did something else. It did NOT seize. It's NOT smoking or sounding angry since I changed the oil. BUT... the power is down about 25% even with a better tune.
 

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Does it have front sump oil pan or is it a later Fox-body-like double sump used with R&P type steering?
 

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Exactly! When I drained it...1 quart. The dip stick barely had oil on it from the beginning...remember, he told me it was the wrong (not long enough) stick. Not true... it shows perfectly now when filled.
The last "tuning" attempt was met with angry sounds. That's Why I shut it all off and did something else. It did NOT seize. It's NOT smoking or sounding angry since I changed the oil. BUT... the power is down about 25% even with a better tune.
When you say the power is down 25%, what are you using to gage a 25% loss. Did you establish a baseline (DYNO) in the beginning? I would do the compression check, as mentioned, drop the pan and pull a couple rod a mains. If they show no unusual wear, and the compression test is reasonable, reassemble, fill it with oil and let'r run. I would add a mechanical OP gage, if you haven't already. I'm not sure you'll get very far with the builder, and how can the installer be faulted?
 

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and how can the installer be faulted?
Seems like a competent mechanic should have double verified the true oil level if it was showing low on the dipstick. If I had a dipstick that showed the oil level is low on a supposedly full engine and I was not the one who filled it, I would not take it for granted that it's simply the wrong dipstick. I'd go to NAPA, buy the right dipstick and compare the lengths, I'd then drain the oil and see how much is in there. These basic sanity checks when things don't add up is what separates good mechanics from bad mechanics, especially with a new, expensive engine on the line. As to who the culpable party is? I think it's whoever first turned the key. That person, whoever it is, is responsible for the oil level and it's a mistake that this got by them because they didn't verify.

This is why I like doing my own work. If someone is going to screw up, it's going to be me!
 
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