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Technical Picked up a 53 Olds Rocket 303

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by AD_NAPCO, Apr 21, 2017.

  1. d2_willys
    Joined: Sep 8, 2007
    Posts: 4,149

    d2_willys
    Member
    from Kansas

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  2. AD_NAPCO
    Joined: Mar 14, 2008
    Posts: 415

    AD_NAPCO
    Member

    Well, it's been a few weeks, but I'm back at it. Over the past week, here and there, I was able to tear the front end sheet metal off the 39 pickup, pull the 324 and trans out, and swap the 303 in. The only bummer is that I only have the one bell housing so I had to separate my trans from my 324 to attach my stick bell to it so I could mount the motor. It's a 560766 bell housing, which I think is 49-63 Olds, and 49-54 Cad. I'm not sure if that's the only bell that will work with my 324 and selector trans combo or not, but I don't have time or money to hunt up a suitable stunt double right now. I'll have to find another one in the future. :(

    So I had to pull the steering box as it won't clear the stock starter, and I had to flip the manifolds side for side and upside down so they dump sideways instead of down, and then I picked up a couple flanges at the local muffler shop and a couple 90 degree sections of 2" and welded up a couple turndowns. I had to do this because the dumps won't clear the frame. Gonna be loud as hell but probably still safer than running it with no manifolds.

    Next, I wired up the starting circuit. I used a universal ignition switch. I'm not very good with wiring but this is what I came up with. Tell me if you see anything wrong, please. I'm not going to be including a generator or regulator so there's no charging circuit. Just as a reminder, I'm doing this in prep to sell the project.

    [​IMG][​IMG]


    Next pic shows the coil... I have no idea what the round item is to the right of the coil that has the white wire coming from it. That tag was there when I picked up the motor. Any ideas?

    [​IMG]

    Next question is about the fuel system. I'm really not sure what the routing should be, and the one shop manual I have, which is 56 Olds ( This motor is 53 ) does not show any information on routing. Any help here would be appreciated.

    In the pic below, I need to know where the top fitting on the carb goes. I would think that's the fuel supply line. The bottom fitting is a tee block, as seen from the other side in the coil pic above. That tee is open on the other side, so I need to know what to do with that... The line from the tee exiting the bottom of the frame is heading down to an 90 degree elbow fitting in the top of the fuel pump.
    [​IMG]

    The line in the top half of the pump, exiting frame left, is capped off, I would guess it's meant to supply vacuum windshield wipers. The line entering from top of frame is coming from the tee block on bottom rear of the carb.
    The loop in the bottom half was there when I picked it up. I would think one side would be pulling fuel from the tank, and the other side is sending it up to the carb ( the top rear fitting referenced above? )

    [​IMG]

    Ok, that's it for now... I really appreciate any insight you guys can provide. I generally try to look this stuff up as much as I can beforehand. This time, as far as the fuel stuff is concerned, I didn't have much success.

    Thanks in advance!
     
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  3. I'll keep it brief. You've got it all sorted on your own. Be proud. :)
     
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  4. loudbang
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 34,559

    loudbang
    Member

    The round thing looks like a resistor.
     
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  5. AD_NAPCO
    Joined: Mar 14, 2008
    Posts: 415

    AD_NAPCO
    Member

    I thought the same thing... I'm at a loss at to the purpose of it, just being between the coil and the dizzy like it is.
     
  6. loudbang
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 34,559

    loudbang
    Member

    Radio static interference?
     
  7. I skipped right over that. I did not see that on a 56 324 I messed with once. The coil bracket in the photo was designed to hold it from the factory. Now my curiosity is working also.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2017
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  8. Josh, does the distributor have a vacuum advance? If so, connect to manifold vacuum. Plug off the rest of the vacuum ports, add gas can and a good fire extinguisher and touch that fella off.
    I assume you rolled that engine over by hand to ensure that no valves were stuck first?????? A little Marvel MO in each cyl would be good if this has sat for a while.
    You need a 51+ bell housing for the Buick trans set up. I have several I am not using. You can have one for the cost of the freight if you want to do that. I am not going west this fall so I cannot carry it with me. I could check ups ratets if you wish.
     
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  9. AD_NAPCO
    Joined: Mar 14, 2008
    Posts: 415

    AD_NAPCO
    Member

    So I made some more progress today. After a quick conversation on the phone with Walt ( vtwhead ) I headed to the hardware store in search of brass plugs and fittings to block off all the vacuum ports on the carb except the one for vacuum advance, and also plug the vacuum side of the fuel pump as well. Also picked up a couple fittings to clean up the fuel side of the pump as well, and some fuel line. I think Walt has me headed in the right direction as far as which line is inlet vs. outlet. As he said though, we'll know in short order if it's right because the glass bowl on the pump will tell the tale!

    Next, at Walt's urging, I pulled all the plugs and both valve covers and turned the engine over by hand to make sure all the valves were moving freely. They are, and I'm happy about how clean everything is under the covers. No sludge at all to speak of.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Next went to the auto parts store and picked up some odds and ends in the radiator hose department in order overcome another challenge. The bottom tank outlet on my radiator is on the opposite side of the from my Olds water pump inlet. The inlet is also 1 3/4" and the bottom tank outlet is 1 1/2". So I need to cobble up a line that goes from one side to the other along the core support. Waiting on a piece of 1 1/2" exhaust tubing to show up at NAPA in the AM to hopefully get that sorted.

    Also got universal temp and oil pressure gauges hooked up, the road draft tube bolted on, and a fan belt short enough to go just from the crank to the water pump pulley rolled on.

    The last thing I did was pull this massive 3rd crank pulley off because the only stock Olds fan I had here wouldn't clear it, and I was not able to find a spacer block in my parts stash readily.

    [​IMG]

    So if everything goes well putting the bottom radiator hose together tomorrow, I'm hoping to attempt firing tomorrow afternoon!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Thanks for all the assists!
     
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  10. Geesch! Now you are going to start a new fad with those "cheap fender well headers"!!:D:D:D
     
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  11. sololobo
    Joined: Aug 23, 2006
    Posts: 8,176

    sololobo
    Member

    You might contact Ross Automotive as they know all things Olds. I looked them up at Ross Oldsmobile Racing engines, phone is 330-554-4466, their first page has a heading, transmission adapters. They are the best when it comes to Olds engines, nice folks. Best wishes with your cool project.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2017
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  12. AD_NAPCO
    Joined: Mar 14, 2008
    Posts: 415

    AD_NAPCO
    Member

    Howdy! So I officially got the radiator plumbing sorted and tthe motor to fire up and run yesterday. I let it run for maybe five minutes and then turned the key off to check for leaks, etc. Went to fire it back up and no joy... Strange. Tried again... No joy. Started looking for suspects and figured out the fuel pump had crapped out. After talking with the fuel pump rebuilder at Fusick, it seems like I may have ruptured a diaphragm when I blocked off the ports on the vacuum side of the pump rather than connecting them... So, not wanting to wait for a $90 kit to show up from the other side of the country, I decided to rig up an electric pump.

    I used this schematic http://www.how-to-build-hotrods.com/electric-fuel-pump.html

    Seems to work pretty well. I'm not planning on letting this go with the truck the plan is to harvest all of it for my future test stand I'll be using for other engine projects.

    So after I got the wiring all put together I got it to fire again and it was running pretty nice for a while. One thing I was concerned about is that cold oil pressure was only reading at 30#. I would think it'd be significantly higher. The FLAPS oil pressure gauge I picked up uses clear tubing and I notice there's a LOT of air in the line. Is that normal? I've alway had copper line so it's not something I'd ever given thought to. I'm using what I assume is the correct pressure pickup off the side of the oil filter housing. Now, here's what got me a little frazzled. Once the truck got up to operating temp, right around 200 ( running straight water ) degrees, I noticed the oil pressure was down around 10#, and it was not running quite as smooth anymore. I killed it immediately and decided to drain the oil. It came out really clean... I didn't notice any debris in it at all. It occurs to me that maybe when that fuel pump let go, I might have lost some fuel into the pan? I smelled it and it seems I'm getting a hint of fuel smell in the oil but I'm really not sure. So I'm going to let it cool off over night and see if I can tell if there's an appreciable difference in viscosity and smell between what I drained and some fresh oil.

    This first video is it running the first time after the electric fuel pump was installed. At this point, it's been running for probably 3 or 4 minutes, before I goosed the throttle a bit... Sorry for the fingers in the way.

    Side note, I had to jumper across the terminals on the ballast resistor to get it to fire. That's the wire you see looped around a plug wire in this vid...This is a brand new resistor I picked up today. I did that because I used an old resistor yesterday, and had to do the same thing. So now that I have to do it with a new resistor, I'm thinking I have a weak coil. I'll have to test that tomorrow. If so I have a new one from the 324 I can swap in.



    The second video, this one after it died on it's own for an unkown reason, you'll notice it's definitely running rougher. Side note, I have a regulator on, and the first time around I had it regulated at 3 psi. You'll see right at the end that 10ish pounds of pressure on the oil pressure gauge. I immediately turned it off at this point.



    So... What do you guys think? Other than the wires and shit on my firewall is goddamned ugly... I knew that much!

    Thanks!
     
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  13. loudbang
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 34,559

    loudbang
    Member

    Sounds pretty quiet for open exhaust.
     
  14. What weight oil are you running ? Also, did you have a hard time starting and stay long cranking and pumped the gas pedal a lot ? I do hear a miss fire every now and then.
     
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  15. AD_NAPCO
    Joined: Mar 14, 2008
    Posts: 415

    AD_NAPCO
    Member

    Ha! Trust me, it's anything but quiet! I need to be a good 40 feet away to hear myself or anyone else talking.

    Just straight 30 weight. I didn't have to crank very long for it to fire once I jumpered across the resistor terminals. It seems to want to fire pretty quickly with a good priming. It's been pretty hot here though and that may be affecting things.

    I'm open to suggestions.
     
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  16. AD_NAPCO
    Joined: Mar 14, 2008
    Posts: 415

    AD_NAPCO
    Member

    Quick update. Yesterday I did not get a chance to try and fire it but I did confirm that the 30 wt I had put in it was gas fouled. So I put a new oil filter in it, added a 4 quarts of 10w-40 Rotella diesel oil, a bottle of Lucas break-in oil with the high zddp content, and a bottle of prolong. This got me to exactly full on the dip stick. I pulled that round resistor from between the coil and the distributor, because I'm pretty sure that was some kind of funky ballast resistor. I removed the jumper wire bridging my new resistor, and I also put my spare new coil in the mix just to remove all doubt.

    I also had noticed after the last time I ran it, when I pulled the plugs they were all really white, so upon advice from vtwhead ( Walt ) I turned in the mixture screws until they stopped then, backed them both out 1.5 turns each as a base line.

    I then proceeded to hook up the freshly charged battery, primed the carb, and hit the key. It fired up fairly quickly and ran nicely for a few minutes.

    The video below starts after it'd been running about 30 seconds. You'll see right at the end that the oil pressure is up at 40 psi, which as far as I know, is right on spec, and this makes me happy!



    I let it run for a few minutes, and the thermostat had opened as the temp was beginning to climb, and I goosed the throttle a bit, had an immediate big puff of blue smoke out the carb, and it died. Wish I'd have looked to see what the oil pressure was at once it was getting warmed up.

    I have not been able to get it start since. WTF??

    So then I decided to put the battery back on the charger ( remember I have no charging circuit ) and start investigating.

    I started pulling plugs and they were all a very nice tan color now. No carbon fouling and nothing black.

    I then did a compression check on it.

    1 ) 120 2) 115
    3) 120 4) 120
    5) 112 6) 112
    7) 112 8) 120

    Seems pretty decent in the compression department, to me. What do you think?

    I can't get this thing to fire for the life of me now. It's trying really hard, but just won't catch and keep going. I am getting a lot of blue smoke puffs out the carb now... I'm sure that's not a good sign but I don't know enough to say for sure. Makes me suspect timing.
    I'm getting plenty of good, hot spark now so I can't imagine it's the coil or anything under the cap, but I'll be taking a look under there next.

    What do you guys think?
     
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  17. look in the carb and see if gas shoots out of the shooters when you hit the throttle
    pull a plug wire and see if you are getting spark to the plug
    take two aspirins, have a cold beer and call me in the morning........................
     
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  18. AD_NAPCO
    Joined: Mar 14, 2008
    Posts: 415

    AD_NAPCO
    Member

    So, I figured out ( I think ) what the issue is. I was checking my spark again and instead of being nice and bright and blue it was weak and pink... Not good. WTF? So I looked at the points and they were really looking pitted bad. So off to the parts store for points and condensor. I went to put the new points in and the machine screw that holds them in won't tighten. I pull the points out and try again without the thickness of the plate to contend with.. It just spins.

    DAMN. So that's the issue.

    The damn points have been floating on me!

    I was hoping to find a tapered self tapping machine screw at the hardware store.

    They just looked at me like I farted when I asked if they had them.

    So, I'm going to have to do it the hard way. The original was an 8-32 super shorty screw with a big, wide fillister head. I'm going to have to pull the distributor, and drill / tap for a #10 screw which I'll have to shorten a bunch. Good times! That'll have to wait til Monday. Tomorrow is yard sale prep day, and Sunday is yard sale day...

    I was really hoping to have this thing licked today!

    Bummer. :(
     
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  19. Your doing real good.
     
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  20. AD_NAPCO
    Joined: Mar 14, 2008
    Posts: 415

    AD_NAPCO
    Member

    Thanks, Johnny! I'm trying! Sometimes I feel like a complete bonehead but it's still fun even when it's frustrating, right?
     
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  21. Stay in the moment and everything will be fine. [​IMG]
     
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  22. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 8,796

    jimmy six
    Member

    That tee is open on the other side, so I need to know what to do with that... The line from the tee exiting the bottom of the frame is heading down to an 90 degree elbow fitting in the top of the fuel pump.
    [​IMG]

    That tee was a feed for the vacuum power brakes...
     
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  23. AD_NAPCO
    Joined: Mar 14, 2008
    Posts: 415

    AD_NAPCO
    Member

    Ok, quick update.

    The good news is that I was able to get the distributor fixed. The hold down bolt hole was so sloppy I had to tap all the way up to 1/4-28! I tried three different epoxy solutions to try and fill the hole and then drill and tap back to the original 8-32 machine screw. JB-Weld epoxy, JB-Weld steelstik, and blue magic quick-steel all failed pretty quickly. So I went with the bigger bolt. The major downside is that I had to take a dremel to the base plate of the points and open up the hold down bolt hole so that it can pivot around the bigger bolt. Obviously not an ideal long term solution, but I think it'll do for now. I then made up new internal wires for the distributor and reassembled. everything and dropped it back in. I gapped the points at .016 initially, per the specs I found online for the 53 303.

    So with everything back together, I primed the carb and hit the key. The motor fired immediately and kept running just fine. The only issue is that it is racing...

    So I went to set the dwell with my Actron analog dwell/volts/tach meter, after disconnecting the vacuum advance and plugging the line from the carb... The first reading on the well said 25! Wow, way low, so I loosened the hold down bolt on the dist and started slowly turning... The needle on the meter doesn't seem to want to move off of 25... Can't quite figure it out because the motor is definitely reacting to the distributor being twisted.

    I spoke with Walt, and he said he gaps them at .018-.019, so I regapped at .019, tried the dwell again and it doesn't seem to want to move off the new initial reading of 18, and the idle is running around 2400 rpms now.

    I'm wondering if my meter is toast.

    Once it cools off I may be able to go out and test it on my 56 GMC and see how it functions on the 270 . It's about 105 degrees out there right now. Miserable!

    Oh, and here's a strange one... All of a sudden the motor is firing with the ignition switch in the off position when I crank it with my remote starter switch. I thought I'd give it a try just cranking the motor over with no active ignition to see if I could measure the dwell without it running. Well it's firing now with the switch in the off position... It doesn't continue to run after I let off the remote switch..What would cause that?
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2017
  24. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 6,851

    BJR
    Member

    The dwell is controlled by the point gap, not by turning the distributor. Turning the distributor changes the timing.
     
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  25. AD_NAPCO
    Joined: Mar 14, 2008
    Posts: 415

    AD_NAPCO
    Member

    So I guess I was under the wrong impression then. So in the pre-window distributors the only way to adjust the dwell would be to adjust the points repeatedly until you get it right? Or should it be possible to adjust the points while cranking with the cap off using the dwell meter? The type I have has an induction lead that goes to #1 plug wire, ground, and a lead to the negative side of the coil. I suppose that really answers the question because if the cap is off then there's no spark in that plug wire to pick up... So it's just trial and error then, eh?
     
  26. Just set the points with a feeler gauge, not that big a deal to be so concerned about.

    Sent from my Nexus 5X using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
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  27. yes, trial and error I guess. U need to roll the engine around until the points are at the top of any one of the lobes then using a feeler gauge set them at 16 if that is what the manual says. I usually set mine at 18 but that is me and a non stock engine which is not your case.
    Fire the engine and set the timing at 4-8 btdc without the vacuum hooked up then attach the vacuum to the dist. Should run better there and then u can adjust the idle.
     
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  28. motion guru
    Joined: Oct 18, 2009
    Posts: 155

    motion guru
    Member
    from yacolt, wa

    You can burn up a set of point pretty quick without a ballast resistor if your coil resistance is low.

    And with it firing without your key on, that means you likely have your starter solenoid <-> coil wire connected incorrectly.

    Time to sort out your wiring and it will make your life a lot easier going forward.
     
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  29. The resistor bypass wire will feed the coil when using a remote start button; nothing wrong there.

    We always set new points a little to the wide side as the rubbing block will wear in some.

    Heard some of the marvelous new (Chinese) points are so poor the rubbing block goes away in a hurry.

    Be sure to use some distributor cam lube.
     
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  30. AD_NAPCO
    Joined: Mar 14, 2008
    Posts: 415

    AD_NAPCO
    Member

    Sounds like a plan.

    Hey Ken! Ballast resistor is new, and in place. Initially I had jumpered across it because I thought it might be defective, but it turned out I had two resistors installed and didn't realize it. Once I eliminated the redundant resistor, I removed the jumper, and that issue was solved.

    As far as the wiring goes... If you look earlier in the thread you'll see my home brew wiring diagram of my ignition circuit, and then how I wired the electric fuel pump in as well. The wiring has not changed since I got all that sorted and functioning, and this symptom is new... So, my guess is that it always had the potential to happen but because the points were floating so badly on me, at the times I was using my remote starter switch before, it just never happened to catch fire. Now that everything is lined up and locked down, it's firing... In any case I'll just pull the coil wire next time I want to use the remote without it trying to fire.

    Thanks, Rich. I lubed the rubbing block! I won't sweat the firing with the remote starter and no key on if you're saying that's normal... I'll just pull the coil wire next time. My main issue is that at both .016, and .019 on the feeler gauge that the dwell meter has gone no higher than 25* and the motor is racing so I'll just have to open it up a bit more until I hit 30-32* and then do adjust timing from there.

    Thanks everyone. I'll report back after I get some more time tomorrow. It's supposed to be even hotter outside tomorrow... Ambient of 105* and probably quite a bit hotter out on the driveway where the 39 is... Craziness.
     
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