Well? It Runs Again.

Trust me when I say I am just as surprised as anyone.


I haven’t found any leaks yet either.


When I had this thing apart I found some very disturbing and very telling evidence of a complete lack of maintenance on this thing.

What a surprise.

Serious neglect.

Like never changing the fucking oil neglect.

The valley in between the heads was covered in a thick layer of sludge and when I flipped the intake manifold over to clean the gasket surfaces I almost got sick.

I literally scraped this off the bottom of the intake manifold with my fingers,


Engine killing shit right there.

After I got it put back together I drained all the crap out of the oil pan and then filled it up with basically anything I had laying around, including two quarts of ATF.

That shit has so much detergent in it that you could wash your dishes with it.

I had some trouble getting it started and it acts like the idle control solenoid isn’t doing it’s job but it kills the engine when I unplug it and you can hear the vacuum leak it uses to control the idle speed when you plug it in.

I may unhook the battery now that it runs and reset the computer so it goes back to it’s original programming.

But it does run.

I can rev it up and everything, it just idles slow

So I let it get good and warmed up, allowing that ATF to bathe the inside of the engine using the old oil filter to catch as much of that crap as it can.

I am letting it cool off right now and that will give any of that shit that was loose a chance to drip back into the oil pan. After while I will go drain it out, change the filter and refill it with decent oil.

I think I may run it a couple hundred miles, change the oil again and use some DELO 400.

It is designed for Diesel engines but I think it has even more detergent in it than ATF does.

I put that shit in an old 300-6 I bought from a junkyard and ran it for a while,

After a few months I had to change the valve cover gasket and I was astounded at how clean it was under it.

Like new clean.

It’s a no win for me either way, the damage is already done to this engine and when it gets warmed up, the oil pressure drops to zero at idle anyway.

Lack of oil changes + shit loads of carbon based sludge= liquid sand paper on bearings.

It’s that simple.

But, it runs again and so far it doesn’t leak.

I can put that in the Win column for now at least.

18 thoughts on “Well? It Runs Again.

  1. Are you in an area that require emissions on the truck? If not I would clean house on all of that crap on the top side of that engine and go with a torker manifold and a 600cfm Holly..


  2. “Liquid Sandpaper”…..perfectly put, Phil!

    I’d add a quart or two of 50W to your next oil change. Maybe get it to show a bit of oil pressure. If it’s that full of crud, the oil pump clearances probably ain’t what they should be any more.


  3. Rotella T5 in 10w30 is also a good oil, but it’s about 20 a gallon, check walmart and the loves over in Troutdale, both should sell these.


  4. Bastid probably has one of them oilpans that you have jack the engine up to clear the front end, but it might be a good id to put a set of bearings in it.


  5. Phil

    Just for giggles, find the oil pressure sender, remove it and put a rag at the hole, turn over the engine a couple of times (don’t run it). Then clean the crap out of the orifice where it goes then clean the sender, re-install and check what it reads at idle.

    You might get a pleasant surprise, or at worse, no change. Have had gunk in there on one of my older Chevrolet wagons which was blocking the sender passage giving zero reading when there was oil pressure. Mind you it was still copper tube to an actual bourdon gauge back then but can also affect an electrical type. A partial blockage would show similar symptoms at idle.


    • I used to work on my own vehicles, and have on several occasions used ATF in the oil to clean the engine. But the idea of pulling the oil sending unit, and cleaning that area out is one that I never thought of.
      I had always driven older cars, and so had to do some upkeep on them. This was back when cars had distributors and rotors, and points, and such. It seems like now, cars almost fix themselves, in comparison. However, when they fuck up, you better know what you are doing, or you will drive yourself nuts.
      My biggest mistake was in buying my first of 2 new cars. It was a Ford Escort, an 1984. The second mistake I made was reading the owners manual from that car. Change the oil every 7500 miles, it said. So I did, like clockwork. 40,000 miles later, the engine was junk. Fortunately, I got one from a junk yard to replace it. And sold the head from the old engine for what it cost to buy the engine from the junk yard. Aluminum heads apparently had a huge problem with warping.
      Now I change my oil at 3000-4000 miles, but I check it often and if it looks dirty, even if I don’t have the miles on it, I change it. With the engines that they are building now days, I fully expect to get well over 200,000 miles on them, if I only keep the oil clean. On my Pontiac Torrent I just put a new alternator, new rear shocks, and an EGR valve on it. It has 114,000 miles on it, and I hope to get another hundred grand or more


  6. I had a off road 318 plow truck back about ten years ago. I started it in the Fall to service and make sure it worked the way it should. Oh how it knocked and clattered – like it had no oil pressure at all. Only had an idiot light, so really couldn’t tell. When I drained the oil, chunks of stuff came out of the pan. So, I put about 3 gallons of off road diesel in the engine , then let it idle for about an hour. I did this three times, yet I was still getting clumps of crap out of the drain. I hated to do it, but pulled the pan off. There was paper in the whole friggin’ motor! After I pulled the intake off, I found that mice had chewed through a breather hose on the valve cover, and made a nest out of a whole roll of paper towels on the lifter valley. After vacuuming out the lifter valley, and using an air hose on the rest, I used about six cans of BrakeKleen on the inside of the engine. The brake cleaner removed the diesel residue, so the remaining paper bits would blow off. There wasn’t a bit of sludge anywhere inside that engine, the fuel oil really did the job. After pulling the oil pump and removing all the paper in it, I reinstalled it. I ran that thing for another three years before I shelled out the center of the clutch disc. By that time it was rotted to far gone to waste the money on a clutch.
    I learned the diesel trick from an old Chevy mechanic who had to do that several times to cars that hadn’t had the oil changed in years. Imagine pulling the plug, and it comes out like tar……

    Just remember, Smokey Yunick says that a race engine only needs 7psi for every 1000 rpm. I could tell you about a dozen race engines, I’ve seen with low oil pressure, that lasted far longer than it was figured they should. I also had a 79 T-Bird with a 400 that used to have the lifters collapse from low oil pressure. I would take the drain oil out of the Late Model, to use in the street car. It was 50W Kendall GT1 with about 50 laps on it. Yeah, I know – but it was a $100 car. I pulled that engine, rebuilt it and put it in my brother’s 79 F150. Now on it runs 5-20 in the winter, because I kept bending the needle on 100 psi gauges when they bottomed out.

    Enjoy the rest of your weekend, Phil.

    Whitehall, NY
    (If this is a duplicate – just delete it. I’ve been having strange issues posting lately. Especially at TFI )


  7. I have used kerosene to help remove sludge. The tip to remove the oil sending unit to make sure there is no sludge blocking it is a good idea but a oil pressure gauge is better. The tip to remove the oil pan is a no. 1 idea that will keep from locking up an engine., most times. I learned that from the product RESTORE would be a good way to remove sludge but would ALWAYS cause an engine failure because of it.


  8. pull the IAC plug and turn up the idle stop screw on the throttle up about fifty rpm below standard idle speed and plug the IAC back in. should work for you, worked for me.
    5.8 has low tension piston rings. thicker oil may benefit the brgs but don’t be shocked at higher oil consumption.
    I like the craigslist option also.


  9. I have run 15W40 Diesel oil in my suburbans for years. It actually has better flow rates at cold weather than 10W40. I found this out by changing the oil on two of my cars on a cold morning and the 10W40 poured like molasses and the 15W40 flowed in like oil. I ran my 1991 to just under 300,000 without any issues. I would add that the sludge is not a good sign.

    I know that you live in the PNW area and if you look about older rigs like the bronco are far more common that around the salt laden NE. I would sell the Bronco without a second glance and find something else a little easier to deal with. I prefer the 1988-1994 Chevy truck lines with the TBI and fairly simple ignition systems. They are much easier to keep going being simple to work on.


  10. Pull off both those honking big air intake hoses and beat the dirt out of them. Then block the throttle open and spray carb cleaner thru the idle-air passages.

    Make sure all the carb cleaner has evaporated before you put it back together and turn the key!!!

    What happens is whenever you mess with those hoses on a high-mile vehicle, pieces of dirt come un-stuck and find their way to the IAC passages.

    Learned this when doing transmissions, even letting the back of the engine down far enough to reach the top bell housing bolts will do it.


  11. A vacuum leak would cause a high idle. The throttle plates OR the IAC would cause a low idle if they were shitted up..may need a good douching. I use brake cleaner and an acid brush and or clean rag on the throttle plates. The good toxic flamable shit. Also the idle will be relearned after the battery is re conecteced and the engine runs again. be sure to turn on ALL loads. AC (if it works) Highbeam headlights rear defrost etc. This will learn the proper ide under load only. Sometimes it helps to put it into gear and see if it changes(recovers). On an older ford like that the power steering likely has a pressure switch. Activating the power steering should result in a change (higher) in idle. all in the first few minutes before it reaches operating temp (open loop) should help. Or take it out and romp on it see if it comes back behaving with an 800 ish rpm idle in gear


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