Skip to comments.70 RoadRunner
Posted on 01/16/2014 9:32:51 PM PST by Jimma
I just picked up a 1970 RoadRunner. It has been sitting (in a tent) for 5 years. The motor was (allegedly) rebuilt before storage with 0 miles. I have it running nice, but am worried that no oil is flowing to the top end.(I have only ran it a minute or two at a time). I can remove the valve covers and see, but would rather not. Are there any easier ways?
Why are you worried? Valves tapping?
(1) If you haven’t removed the valve covers, why do you think it’s oil-starved on the top end? Is it knocking?
(2) What’s the problem with removing the valve covers?
If you have the 340 or 383 motor, it should have the oil filler port on the right hand valve cover.
You could take it off while it’s running and look.
First off - congrats on a great find! Generally speaking if you must know you’ll have to pull a cover. But if you aren’t hearing clatter then you’re probably fine. Personally I’d pull a cover.
The valve covers on a car that old should have an opening where you can add oil, or at least a small oil breather filter. Pull off the filter or take the oil cap off, and you should be able to see, through the resulting opening, the oil reaching the valve rockers (or not, if the pump’s not working).
If you have oil pressure, why would you be afraid the top end isn’t getting lubrication. Hydraulic lifters, right? If you had no oil... you’d know.
Remember... it’s just a car.
(I want, I want)
This thread is useless without pictures...
Probably not worth it anymore. Those cars are all monocoque-body, so the rust will likely have destroyed not only the sheetmetal but the structural elements too by now. It’s probably sitting for a reason.
Oil pressure will be high if the galleries are plugged/restricted. If the car has an oil pressure gauge installed, check to see if there is high backpressure. If it has no pressure gauge, it is a minor issue to pull the covers.
If I had your concerns, I would have to pull the valve covers just for piece of mind. But I don’t.
What does the oil look like on the dip stick?
If a fresh build even though sitting it should look clean.
If not change oil and filter> Does it have an oil pressure gauge? Unless you are in A warm climate that oil is cold and will need warm time. Let it idle for ten mins and then raise rpms. If top end is starved lifters will tap! Other than that it pop the covers and have a look see!
You'd know pretty quick if you weren't getting oil
Get away from that engine and pay someone who knows what their doing.
Congrats on the car! Other posters have already answered - you'd probably already know if she wasn't getting oil.
I admit, I'm jealous and wondering stats, 318/340/360/383/413/426/440 power plant, 727/833 tranny, 3.23 in the rears?
Anyhow, congrats again. Good luck and enjoy.
I looked in the valve cover (filler cap). It looks dry, besides the oil I have poured in. No rust just dry and it has run up tp 3 minutes. I am going to pull the valve covers but I dont think I will see oil squirting. Then what.
Oil pan comes down?
I will post pics.... its not very pretty right now.
The 383 was the base engine in the ‘70 RR. The only other engine options were the 440 4 bbl, the 440 6-pack, and the Hemi. The only automatic used on these engines was the A727. 3.23 was the standard RR ratio, but other ratios could be ordered.
All the Oil passages are probably blocked up. You should have changed the Oil and Filter and added a little ATF to it to help clean it out.
The ATF acts like a Detergent that helps clean out the gunk. After it’s warmed up, drain the Oil and do another Oil / Filter Change. Use low viscosity oil or see if you can get some Engine Break In Oil.
Did you crank the engine with the Coil Disconnected to get the Oil pumped through the Engine?
Might just be worth the trouble to pull the engine and rebuild it. You will have to do it anyway if the Oil isn’t reaching the Top End.
Are the Engine and Transmission Numbers Matching? If not, put in a Crate Engine and new Transmission and turn it into a Resto Mod.
Or, just do what you want to do. LOL
It has a 383 (matching numbers)727,power front disk brakes, power steering, Factory Air, and Power windows. I am told that it was on the production line to become a SuperBird.
Certainly the year to get in Roadrunners. I’d like to see pics. Best of luck to you.
“Probably not worth it anymore.”
These cars are getting VERY expensive. This makes restoring even total hopeless cases worth it. They even sell ENTIRE NEW REPRODUCTION BODIES for a Camaro or Mustang, with the doors hung, the whole shot. You can get virtually every part for a late 60’s Mustang or Camaro in reproduction, and some of the reproductions are from the original tooling. Chryslers are not as well supported, but this is improving.
You might have to put 30K into a basket case Camaro, but you might wind up with a car worth 50K and climbing...
Climbing...maybe. People who loved those cars are now in their peak earning years, and there are only so many cars to go around. Who will buy these cars when they are too old to drive or gone? I have seen a “peak” phenomenon in other “collectibles” - for example, Beatles cards. And, other than museum owners, who wants to own an “average person’s car” from the period between 1910-1930? They are hard to drive, can’t really go on all public roads, and take enormous amounts of (very unfamiliar) maintenance by today’s standards.
By all means, post a pic when you get ready to take her out on the road.
Remove the valve covers and check. Then either paint, clean or chrome them, your choice. You can clean the tappets also. I’m surprised you already don’t want to do that anyway regardless of oil flow.
Find the specs.
Doesn't it have a gauge or a light for oil pressure?
The 383 has an external oil pump on the side of the block.
They do fail sometimes. (shaft drive for it can fail too.)
They can be changed easily.
They are also known for wearing out rocker arms causing excessive clatter and breakage because they do have a tendency to starve for oil on the valve train if things are not completely kosher.
Another thing.... Can you tell the difference between an exhaust manifold
leak and Valve train clatter? they can sound somewhat the same.
Serious, you have to be careful what you do here.
If you get oil pressure cranking with a gauge on it then pull the valve covers if you want to see what is really happening.
Any more advice is $95 per hour because this is what I do for a living.
Take it to a shop before you get in over your head.
Your scaring me.
A “rebuilt engine” can mean anything or nothing when it comes from the mouth of a seller.
Chrysler products from that era are a bit unique in the car world. While the Mustang, Camaro, Corvette etc all used body-on-frame builds, where you could replace virtually the entire car pieces at a time, the Chrysler cars back then used a monocoque design. There’s no frame you can work up from or tear down to, because the frame is integral with the body. Once the cancer gets into it, there’s not really anything that can be done.
To make matters worse, donor Chargers from the 68-70 era are extremely rare now, thanks in part to “The Dukes of Hazard”, which destroyed over 300 of them during the show’s run. Any car that’s been rusting in a field for years is almost certain to be too much work to be worth it. About the only exceptions would be Hemi chargers with valid serials, or one of the factory performance option packages like the R/Ts. Anything else, and you might as well just build the whole thing from the catalog, and not bother to try to save the original.
Plugged up? Possible. Or excessive clearance any where can cause pressure to be inadequate. (including the pump or a stuck relief) Pressure is caused by resistance to flow. Its like washing your car with a big hole in the hose back at the faucet or somewhere else in the hose.
Plugged up is like when you get a kink in the hose, there would also be a lack of delivery.
Hell its been 25 years since I worked on a 383 other than maybe some tune-ups.
And that also reminds me of the one near-miss I had 20 years ago. I came this || close to buying a corvette that had been sitting in a guy’s side yard for years. It would have been worth it; I checked the numbers on it, and it was a real live 1970 427/435 with a 4-speed stick. Black, and I think had pretty much every option available for it at the time. If I’d had the money and the time to put it back in shape back then, I could probably retire on the proceeds of the sale now.
After seeing the picture of that fine auto, I agree with those that are telling you to get it to someone with the requisite experience to resolve any possible engine issue. That thing looks too cherry on the body and interior to screw up on the mechanicals.
Here’s an oil caution unrelated to pressure. Engines built before oxygen sensors used oil containing zinc. These engines were lubricated by chemistry. The zinc continuously coated the parts and what wore was the zinc coating, not the metal. After oxygen sensors the engines were redesigned to be lubricated by pressure. A layer of oil was always between two parts rather than zinc meeting zinc. This is because your engine burns a tiny amount of oil every firing stroke. It went past the oxygen sensor and eventually plated it with zinc.
You must use zinc containing oil. You can’t buy it at Wal-Mart. If it doesn’t contain zinc I don’t care how good it is. You will wear out your engine fairly fast.
That’s a dangerous spot to park your car......
Congrats on scoring some great American Muscle!!
If I were you — just to be sure I knew what the seller meant when he said “rebuilt” — I’d go buy some gaskets and pull the manifold, heads and oil-pan and give it a good inspection, top & bottom (or I’d get a shop I trusted to do it). Either way, I’d do it just for the peace of mind.
Awesome! Got pics and stats? I had a 69 GTO and my best friend at the time had a 69 RoadRunner raising hell and racing weekends. The gold old days!!
Oil pressure is key but a fresh oil change and then turning the engine over a few times prior to actually starting it would have been my first move. If it’s been sitting for 5 years and you had it running then I’d say you have no problems mechanically although I’d still change the oil again. You may have some dry seals so I’d be looking for leaks
Is there a Mopar 101.1 for Dummies? Just wondering.
What no Air Grabber?
You’ve been spending time at Bob’s the Oil Guy haven’t you? (grin).
I’ve been told that the “High Mileage” oils are better oils for any engine due to their anti-wear additives that aren’t present in regular oils. Is this true?
EXCELLENT ADVICE!! With a car of this vintage, you don't want to mess up something that could be easily fixed by someone who knows what they are doing. If you were tinkering with an old Pinto, I'd say do it yourself - if you mess up - small loss but with a classic '70s muscle car - I'd recommend you bring in some expertise - you don't want to screw this up.
I plan to follow my own advice. I have a Ford 427 side-oiler block in my garage. Once I find something worthy of putting it in, I'll have the engine rebuilt. I tossed around the idea of rebuilding it myself but decided that I didn't want to screw this up.
The best idea, take it to those “Graveyard Carz” guys.
They only do Mopar.
“Ive been told that the High Mileage oils are better oils for any engine due to their anti-wear additives that arent present in regular oils. Is this true?”
You need the oil called for by the manufacturer. New additives are made for newer engines and are compatible with anti-wear coatings you find on certain cars. I believe the additive you want is called ZDP. (Zinc Di-Phosphate, as I recall.) You may not be able to get the exact oil called out by the manufacturer. If not, call the company and ask them what substitutes for that oil today. Alternatively, join a car club. Bring a chair and pot to p*ss in ‘cause they’ll chew your ear off.
I don't quite understand what you're saying here, but I don't believe that there were any 383 Superbirds, so that's kind of odd.
As to your original question, I also wonder, (like quite a few posters here), why you have concern that your valve train is not oiling properly. Most of the advice given here is good, FReeper motorheads are purdy smart. I'll add my two cents FWIW...
You probably won't be able to see much through the various holes in the valve covers, but you should at least be able to see if you have stamped steel rocker arms or cast units, (possibly even something more exotic). If the rockers are the stock stamped units, they are non-adjustable for valve lash and that means you have hydraulic lifters. If this is the case and they were not getting oil, it would indeed be noisy. If not noisy, that would only mean that the lifter galleys are pressurized and is not a guarantee as to whether the heads are oiling properly.
BTW, it's possible to have adjustable rockers and still have a hydraulic cam, but that's somewhat unusual.
I had one thought that hasn't been mentioned yet. It would require pulling the valve covers off but you wouldn't have to run the engine. Get an oil pump priming tool, (you can buy 'em, I built mine, nothing to it, hex stock, I forget the size), and a reversible drill, (counter-clockwise is the direction). Pull the distributor, making note of the rotor position. Pull the cam gear, again making note of the position. Insert tool, spin it and pump oil as long as you want, probably want to do this when/where it's warm. Take pains to not bugger up the distributor bushing in the block, although it may need one anyway if the rebuilder didn't replace it, (it's easy).
I took great interest in this thread as I am currently giving my older brother's '70 Roadrunner a pro street treatment. He bought this car new when he was 16, a 383, 4-speed car. Put a 528 Hemi aluminum head motor in it, talked him into putting an 8-stack Hilborn setup on it. Tube front end, tubbed with a 4-link, the works. Grew up with that car, love that car! Might even get it done someday.
Hope this helps, good luck! We'll need to trade some pictures.
...ping to uglybiker, anotha FReepa Roadrunna lova...
When I first got the car (alleged) rebuilt 383,, the oil was CLEAN. After got it running (2 min) the oil was milk.Changed the 0il & filter. Ran again,, 3 min @ a time for maybe 15 min. No oil comes up to the valve covers. So Dropped the oil pan,Cleaned the screen(dont ask It was gray sludge((which I think is part of the problem)))Pan is back on (screen is clean) Starts Runs No oil in the valve cover. Yeah get an oil pressure gauge. Then what??
Cracked block or head
No leaks, from the block, heads, or anywhere. I am going to try something in the oil. I have heard ATF or Kerosene. I am having some other issues. I ran it up on jack stands, and the wheels moved in Reverse and Drive. I moved it out of the garage. It went slowly in reverse and didnt want to go in drive. Its probably just low on fluid but the pan has to come down. The tire rod ends are replaced, linkage is painted and back in place. Same as the oil pan. Baby steps.
A quick update. It now runs drives and stops. The oil flow to the top ends, is not an issue, The trans filter is changed. (it actually did its first smoke show today,((I left the 2x4 behind the rear wheel(((didnt see it with the snow)))but the tire smoked right up on the wood and backed right over them. We are getting the engine compartment ready for paint (SubLime Green), and ground down the Radiator Support. Guess what, MATCHING VIN #. I have a question for any MOPAR encyclopedia guys, have you ever heard 0f Roadrunner (1970) WITH POWER WINDOWS? There is no fender tag(the holes are there, but no tag). I will post some pics soon.