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cadillac engine defects

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by rodderbilly, Jun 4, 2010.

  1. hi guys...speaking with some friend about a hot rod project i said that i love the look of old cadillacs with finned heads and other moke-up.....they said that this 331 or 365 engines are oiling problems and others ....and said me that isn't the best way to know more about this engines??what you suggest??thanks
  2. no one can tell me?
  3. Sledge
    Joined: Feb 5, 2008
    Posts: 1,716

    from Nor Cal

    I've been running them for 20 years and never had an oiling problem. They're one of the best engines ever made and look fantastic in a hot rod. Your friend just doesn't know what he's talking about.
    Roothawg likes this.
  4. I think only the very early '49 OHV's had oiling problems but they fixed it mid year. If you mean the flathead caddys, those things were in Army tanks! I wouldn't think they had oiling issues.
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  5. this is what i want to hear.....thanks
  6. lostforawhile
    Joined: Mar 23, 2008
    Posts: 4,160


    if there were any problems, I'm sure someone has already engineered a solution to it. :)
  7. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 26,880


    The wheat farmers up in the Palouse region of Washington state often drove Cadillacs back then for a reason besides them being big fancy cars and that was that they were reliable. When you live 40 or 50 miles from the nearest town you buy cars that have a reputation for reliability.
    I don't see an issue if the engine built right by who ever rebuilds it. But they are like any other big old engine in that if they spent their live or most of it lumbering around town at low speeds they may be full of sludge that will cause problems if it isn't cleaned out before attempting to run the engine after it has sat for a few years.
  8. OldSub
    Joined: Aug 27, 2003
    Posts: 1,064

    Member Emeritus

    Cadillac's reputation is for quality and reliability. I don't know much about these real early motors but the reputation was made many years ago.

    Balance that against 60 years of engineering advancement and realize that as much as we love the old motors there are ways they are not likely to compare with some of the new stuff.
  9. so...i need to try i nice one 331 /365 or a rebuild one,,,i don't know about the price of a rebuild one ...i think around 2000$......i love that cadillacs with finned heads and valley cover....and that sound...
  10. Built my Caddy back in 1965 still running strong in my 37 Ford just run good oil. I change my oil every 2000 miles.
  11. RichFox
    Joined: Dec 3, 2006
    Posts: 9,930


    They were pretty much the top of the line for a hot rod motor in the fiftys. maybe a Chrysler but they were so big. My brother built a 4 X 4 '49 Cad for an A. Never heard of and oiling issues.
  12. Snarl
    Joined: Feb 16, 2007
    Posts: 1,639


    You mean finned valve covers not heads, right? the 331 and 365 are overhead valve engines, not flatheads.
  13. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,080

    Atwater Mike

    I worked at a Cadillac-Olds dealership in '60-'62, did some overhauls (complete rebuilds, actually) on those Cads. ('49-'55) The worst thing they suffered from was cylinder taper from miles of idling around town. When they got warm, the 6 volt starter would draw 200+ amps! (and drag, and drag...'til someone called the service truck.) A quick 12 volt jump would start it, and then, if the customer didn't want to fix it, it got an 8 volt battery and an adjustment of the voltage regulator!
    The only oiling problems Cads had were oil leaks from the filter cannisters, after an oil change at the corner service station!
  14. wow!!i dream about the roadster build in rodders journal 31 with the help of steve sellers,,,365 cadillac with 4-speed ford topoloader....damn is so killer!!i love my coupester with the mr.flathead.......but that cadillac project is so horny!!
  15. yes i mean that men....valve covers....
  16. moefuzz
    Joined: Jul 16, 2005
    Posts: 4,950


    Cadillacs reputation is for nickle and dimeing.

  17. shoprat
    Joined: Dec 23, 2006
    Posts: 1,109

    Member Emeritus
    from Orange, CA

    Made a 365 from a 331 put in 55 Nomad and beat it for years. Never a problem.
  18. OldSub
    Joined: Aug 27, 2003
    Posts: 1,064

    Member Emeritus

    LOL! That would be GM's modern reputation as a whole I think. And they sure aren't the only big corp that deserves that rep.

    But if we limit the scope of this discussion to the time when the motors asked about were made and maybe even the 20 or 25 years afterward I'll stand by my statement.

    It is also true that at least in the later cast iron Cadillac the casting had a higher nickle content than common in most motors, resulting in longer lasting motors.

    I don't have a good come back for the dimes though.
  19. steel rebel
    Joined: Jun 14, 2006
    Posts: 3,604

    steel rebel
    Member Emeritus

    They are good reliable engines with no inherent problems. The one in my roadster has an Isky roller tappet cam and Chevy. roller lifters fit. I have it adapted to a Ford Van top loading 3 speed. The finned valve covers can be had from Speedway and the finned aluminum valley pan can be bought from Mooneyes. Egge has all the rebuild parts or you can get a kit on ebay.

    Attached Files:

  20. 62rebel
    Joined: Sep 1, 2008
    Posts: 2,744


    i hear the same stuff about most engines depending on who's doing the talking. don't see how in hell Cadillac or GM for that matter could stand any bad publicity regarding their topline car regarding reliability. now, given that we're getting these engines 40-50 years on, with sketchy maintenance (IF ANY!) then sure, there's gonna be some stinkers in the bunch. it's got nothing to do with what they were like new.

    warranty being six months to a year in the fifties, they STILL had to be able to count on a repeat customer.
  21. OldSub
    Joined: Aug 27, 2003
    Posts: 1,064

    Member Emeritus

    Some of the issues with the traverse mount Cadillac V-8s are probably part of GM's current problems. But this discussion isn't about motors made in the 90's and later.

    Three responses in one thread. You might think I care about old Cadillacs.
  22. PackardV8
    Joined: Jun 7, 2007
    Posts: 888


    FWIW, the Cadillac is one of the most reliable V8s ever built. Suggest looking for the lthe '63-64 390"-429" versions. There is more used speed equipment for the 331"-365"-early 390", but '63-64 versions are much better.
  23. BrandonSilva
    Joined: Aug 5, 2008
    Posts: 170

    Member!!! :D I'm SOOOO gonna start using horny to describe something bad ass!!

    I love Cadillac engines.....they rule!!! they're fuckin' horny!!!
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2010
  24. LUCIFR
    Joined: Mar 8, 2006
    Posts: 634

    from Seattle

    i have heard the 472-500's had some bad oil pickups so they had a hard time getting oil up into the top end and valve springs which causes the seals around the giudes to crack and leak oil there is a fix get a high flow oil pickup plain and simple and silver hat seals??
  25. 32coupedeville
    Joined: Dec 10, 2006
    Posts: 1,253

    from cincy

    i have a caddy 390 in my 32 coupe . i drive it like i stole it at times1 runs great . the only thing you have to watch is the oil psi at high rpms. they can drop oil psi depending on oil pump and engine condition. there is a shop down the road from me that restores old alard race cars that have cadillac engines. they have done eveything you can imagen to cadillac engines for the shop owner: even making there own heads our of buillet, roller bearing cranks , dry sump oiling. they are the ones that told me of the oiling problems at prolonged high rpms, above 5500 rpm for extended times. remember these are big ci engines and have heavey pistons. dont expect to hold it at 10,000 rpms and drop the hammer. be reasonable with it and have fun. i wound just do a stock rebuild with a hot cam and intake of your choice and you will not be disapointed. my 32 coupe runs better than i want to push it and i shift at 5500 rpm. my 2 cents worth.

    Attached Files:

    hotrod_grmi likes this.
  26. OldSub
    Joined: Aug 27, 2003
    Posts: 1,064

    Member Emeritus

    The problem is nylon cam gears deteriorating and clogging the system. The valve seals do the same thing.

    The Melling aftermarket pump flows no more than the factory pump and has some reports of failures. The CadCo pump claims to flow more but the Cadillac forums question if its actually true.

    So far every pump I've investigated leaves me convinced a stock pump in good condition with the right gasket is usually the best answer.

    A high quality steal cam gear set and good quality seals are a good idea and help avoid these problems.

    But this thread isn't about the 472/500 or 425 and 368.
  27. Johnny Walnuts
    Joined: Jun 4, 2010
    Posts: 33

    Johnny Walnuts

    what model fords did the 4 spd toploader come out of?

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