The Truth About Cars » small block The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Mon, 28 Jul 2014 21:27:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » small block Piston Slap: Deffo Not Your Father’s Oldsmobile! (Part II) Mon, 09 Sep 2013 12:32:31 +0000 CapturePaul writes:

Hello Sajeev,

This is my second time writing in about my Oldsmobile. I solved the cooling problem with a mechanical fan, however now I am having another problem. As you may recall I swapped in a ZZ4 GM Performance 350 CI motor, and now it will “diesel” for awhile after I shut it off. It only does this after it has had a chance to warm up. Do you have any ideas for fixing this?


Sajeev answers:

Dieseling is a common problem with carburetor equipped vehicles from yesteryear.  If you’ve owned a vehicle with one of these glorified toilet bowls for an extended period of time, odds are you’ve experienced this.  I did before, and I have again: our Ford Sierra project car and it’s 2BBL carb just dieseled last week!

Honestly, the five well-written causes for dieseling in the Wikipedia article (first sentence, paragraph above) does a pretty fantastic job addressing the issues.  I assume your Olds, like most not-totally-complete project cars, isn’t driven on a daily basis: meaning that carbon build up isn’t a concern. Perhaps the idle speed is too high. Since the ZZ4 has a fairly mild cam profile, keep it around 800rpm. Wikipedia also mentioned timing: make sure that ZZ4 is set to the correct specs (10 degree BTDC @ 800 rpm 32 degree total), but I doubt that’s the problem here.

The remaining problems are my concern, and they all point to the condition/tune of the carb.  How is the accelerator pump doing? Are its seals in tip-top shape?  Is the carb tuned too lean and still running a bit too hot? Fatten up the mixture a little and address any more cooling issues.  I hope you still don’t have cooling issues!

If the carb is some old pile you had lying around (or got for cheap) perhaps this is a good time to consider a stand-alone EFI swap.  Man, they are dirt cheap these days, and would really add the element of modern luxury to one of the nicer luxury rides of all time.  Of all time?

Don’t believe me?  Just go sit in a 9th generation Olds 98 Regency (or Buick Electra/Park Avenue cousin) and get back to me.  Plenty of old world Detroit luxury with a bit of modern production values stemming from the 1977 downsizing of these monsters. And introduction of gee-whiz tech goodies in the 1980s, natch.  These are just as nice as a Caddy without being ostentatious, and leagues ahead of any Panther. Oh yeah, I just said that: 1980s C-body for the win.

Send your queries to Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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The 350 Cubic Inch Debate: Is The Chevy Small Block The Only Answer? Sun, 21 Jul 2013 16:52:11 +0000 1970ChevroletCamaroZ28-engine

The default power choice for many resto-mods is the popular 350 from the General. They are plentiful, affordable and can be built into a beast of a motor. But for many non-General car guys, the idea of a Chevy engine under the hood of their non-General Motors ride is simply a great reason to run it directly over a cliff.

These car guys view a Chevy small block under the hood of one of the other Detroit manufacturer choices as an act of automotive blasphemy that is completely unacceptable to them. It is a little like a New York Yankee playing in a Boston Red Sox uniform for the purists.

The concept has picked up some steam in collector car circles because a Ford-in-Ford or Mopar-in-Mopar resto-mod done to the same level as a Chevy-in-either will typically get more money in a collector vehicle auction.

We have been to hundreds of car shows and events that celebrate the car culture, so we have been around a lot of people’s reactions to resto-mods.

The general reaction to the engine choice depends upon the car guy’s brand loyalty. The General Motors guys are pretty happy to see a 350 under the hood of anything and there are a lot of Bowtie fans in car guy world.

The fact that GM was the king of the car world in terms of sales in North America for many decades meant that many car guys liked their vehicles-and so did their kids, thus the appeal of a 350 Chevy in a Ford, Mopar, Rambler, Studebaker or any other domestic car built over the years since Henry Ford introduced mass production.

But hardcore Ford and Mopar fail to see the magic in the 350 engine from a rival, especially a hated rival. They have a different idea about resto-mods and their engines do not wear bowties. For many old school non-Chevy car guys, a 383 is a name that can only be associated with something from the vintage Chrysler lineup like a 1968 Roadrunner engine choice and not a Chevy-come-lately 350 stroker.

The idea of performance engine options has not been lost on Ford or Mopar, so now a resto-mod motor choice can now be purchased from either one of them. In fact, Chrysler has some very interesting Hemi choices for their brand loyalists, while Ford after-market engines can get you there in a hurry. The cheaper cost factor of Chevy after-market engines does provide an argument for car guys who work on a tight car project budget.

In the final analysis, some very solid choices are now out there for fans of all three brands because the name of the game is all-out performance from all of the Big Three in the aftermarket world. You can be true to your school in a big way in 2013, plus Ford-in-Ford and Mopar-in-Mopar is a better resale investment than Chevy-in either of their Detroit rivals.

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Piston Slap: Deffo Not Your Father’s Oldsmobile! Mon, 28 Jan 2013 13:00:54 +0000 Paul writes:

Long time listener, first time caller. I have a 1982 Oldsmobile 98 Regency Brougham, that last summer I ripped the 307 out of. It now has a Chevy ZZ4 crate motor, backed by a TH 350 transmission. (Gasp! My hero!!! – SM)

My problem now is the car overheats if it is sitting still. I have a stock sized radiator (for the 307) installed, backed by a pair of electric 12″ fans. The fans are rotating in the proper direction, and do turn on and off properly.

My question now is: do I add more radiator (which would mean fabricating new mounts, lots of other stuff), or switch to a mechanical fan? I would need to go with a reverse rotation mechanical fan as I have the serpentine belt pulley kit on the motor. Do you think the fan alone will fix the problem? My other question is I only have about 1000 km on this engine, could it just be some trapped air in the coolant system?

Please reply quickly, as I am looking to start rolling in the car now that winter is done here in Winnipeg.

Thanks, Paul.

Sajeev answers:

First off, lemme say these vintage Olds 98s and Buick Electras are so much cooler than comparable Panthers. Second, OMG SON ZZ4 98 RESTOMOD FTW SON!

Now, how old is the radiator? You probably just need a new one, a OEM replacement. Radiators get clogged with age, and my first comment is to replace what you got if you do not know how old it is.

Once again, I love your restomod! Early 80s GM sedans deserve the attention you are giving. This is the real definition of Panther Love, fixing those often misloved American icons from our now unfortunate past.  But, now we have crossover utility vehicles.  So all the best to you.

Paul writes:

Hello Sajeev, thank you for the reply. The rad is brand new, installed at the same time as the engine. Any other ideas you have would help.

Thanks Again, Paul.

Sajeev answers:

How many CFMs (cubic feet per minute) do the fans push? You might want to see if they flow as well as the Lincoln Mark VIII electronic fan, as it is an upgrade for many vehicles, and maybe that’s what you need. See what CFMs it flows for sure.

Paul writes:

Hello Sajeev, the fans are not rated for CFM. I think I am going to go with the mechanical fan, and see what happens. I will make sure to update you with how well it works.

Thanks, Paul.

Sajeev concludes:

There’s nothing wrong with having a mechanical fan, but I’m starting to wonder if that isn’t the problem.  Yes, perhaps you didn’t “burp” the system properly and there’s an air bubble in it.  Definitely run the Olds (from a dead cold start) with the radiator cap removed and the heater on.  Let the system circulate and as it gets up to operating temperature, you should see bubbles escaping from the radiator. Top off the system right there, and in a minute or two, put the cap back on when it starts to dribble out the top of the radiator.**

Perhaps the radiator cap isn’t strong enough to keep correct pressure, or maybe the thermostat is defective…or maybe who knows from our vantage point!  But we all wish you luck on this unbelievably awesome restomod project. Dang.


**Not applicable on newer vehicles, as you can’t even see the radiator.  The same technique applies, but you have to remove the radiator cap from the remote fill reservoir instead. And maybe from another fill/bleed point, ALWAYS RTFM WHEN IN DOUBT!

Send your queries to Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

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