No oil up top, what am I missing?
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HT4100 4.1, 4.5, 4.9 Discussion, No oil up top, what am I missing? in Cadillac Engine Technical Discussion; When I rebuilt the top end, I wound up removing the lifters, disassembling them, cleaning, and putting them back together. ...
  1. #1
    the recluse is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    No oil up top, what am I missing?

    When I rebuilt the top end, I wound up removing the lifters, disassembling them, cleaning, and putting them back together. I did not soak them in oil (like I should have), but did use lots 'o engine lube.

    I tried priming the engine with a drill motor, but after 30 minutes, had no luck. It did prime the block as you could hear it sloshing around through the oil filter, oil cooler, and into the block back to the oil pan.

    All this time I had no oil coming from the push rod.

    Next I hooked up the started, disconnected the distributor, and ran it about 5 times on 20-30 sec intervals, with 5 minute resting periods for the sake of the starter.

    Nothing up top.

    Finally, I hooked up the distributor and have run the engine about 4 times (at idle only) for a combined total of 3 minutes tops.

    All the while the engine was running, it did not clack (like I'd expected it to) or rap, but ran considerably smooth for being in learn mode.

    Still no oil up top

    Any thoughts?

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    ewill3rd is offline Cadillac Technician
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    Re: No oil up top, what am I missing?

    I am not a pro on the 4.9 and I am not sure how they plumb the passages but I'll see what I can say here.
    What exactly did you do to "rebuild the top end"?

    I'd like to see an oiling diagram for the engine and I could point out possible troubl spots but my reaction is to say that something could have happened with a gasket that was installed improperly or a galley that is blocked from debris or something.
    I guess it depends on what you did exactly?

    Give me some more info on what you did and why.

  4. #3
    the recluse is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: No oil up top, what am I missing?

    Had to replace the head gaskets.

    While apart, I ported and polished the heads, did the valve job, removed all lifters (as explained), tapped the block, helicoiled it, cleaned the block (inside and out), gasket matched the intake and exhaust, and painted.

    Nothing out of the ordinary. The lifters didn't seem to go in any particular way and I never removed the oil pump or touched the lower end. All journals and pathways were blown clean of any debris and the whole block washed with gasoline before reassembly.

  5. #4
    steelybill is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: No oil up top, what am I missing?

    The top end gets oil through the push rods by way of the lifters, from the oil passage in the block. Not trying to be a smart ass here, but are you sure you assembled the lifters correctly? Just an idea, since none of us are perfect

  6. #5
    the recluse is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: No oil up top, what am I missing?

    Lifters are pretty cut and dry, lifter body, spring, plunger, socket, and clip.

  7. #6
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    Re: No oil up top, what am I missing?

    It doesn't clack or knock, runs smooth, the lifters must be pumped up and working correctly...what makes you think there's no oil on the top end.

    Under normal conditions, there is never much oil at the top because there isn't much required. If you are expecting splashing oil everywhere under the oil filler cap, it won't be there.

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    ewill3rd is offline Cadillac Technician
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    Re: No oil up top, what am I missing?

    I would agree, if the lifters were dry you'd have all kinds of racket.
    The oiing from the pushrods is slow, it doesn't spray out unless all the stuff is new, and even then.
    If the cam and lifters are getting oiled it sounds like you might be okay.
    Are the pushrods new?
    Did you make sure they were clear? They can build up a lot of gunk inside them that will slow the oil flow.

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    the recluse is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: No oil up top, what am I missing?

    Quote Originally Posted by drewsdeville View Post
    It doesn't clack or knock, runs smooth, the lifters must be pumped up and working correctly...what makes you think there's no oil on the top end.

    Under normal conditions, there is never much oil at the top because there isn't much required. If you are expecting splashing oil everywhere under the oil filler cap, it won't be there.
    Not that I expected oil splashing but usually you get a running "dribble" out of the end of the push rod/rocker arm. If you don't get a steady stream of oil circulating through the block (especially the heads) under load the oil will burn and cake. I just want to be a little cautious as I've never had them take this long to pump up.

    Admittedly though, this is my first 4.9

  10. #9
    the recluse is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: No oil up top, what am I missing?

    Quote Originally Posted by ewill3rd View Post
    I would agree, if the lifters were dry you'd have all kinds of racket.
    The oiing from the pushrods is slow, it doesn't spray out unless all the stuff is new, and even then.
    If the cam and lifters are getting oiled it sounds like you might be okay.
    Are the pushrods new?
    Did you make sure they were clear? They can build up a lot of gunk inside them that will slow the oil flow.
    We crossed posts since the my last answer ewill3rd...

    The pushrods were not new but the engine was really clean. Other than a light film of oil, nothing was caked or clogged.

    Thanks again guys for your input, I really do appreciate it. Maybe I'm just being too nervous.

  11. #10
    steelybill is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: No oil up top, what am I missing?

    If the rockers aren't squeeking by now, you must have some oil up there

  12. #11
    the recluse is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: No oil up top, what am I missing?

    Success! In my haste I left the original oil filter on the engine to paint the housing. I removed the old filter and replaced it with new and the oil came a dribblin' out.

    I emptied the old filter and filled the new one and the old was one was still heavier than the new. The old filter only had a bout 1000 miles on it since the last oil change, but I'm thinking the headgaskets failing may have had something to do with it.

    Thanks guys for putting up with my brain fart...

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    Re: No oil up top, what am I missing?

    Whoever smelt it dealt it!

  14. #13
    ewill3rd is offline Cadillac Technician
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    Re: No oil up top, what am I missing?

    No problem, better safe than sorry.

    The only stupid question is the one you don't ask.

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