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@unstable Are you certain it's oil and not just really wet with fuel? Sometimes it looks like oil but is carbon fouling coupled with fuel... Black gooey mess!!

One thing you can do is pull plugs and spray a liberal amount of Marvel Mystery Top Oil Marvel link or Lucas engine treatment Lucas link into each spark plug hole then rotate the motor by hand a few revs (360° each time) then spray more in there and let it sit for a day or two. I've used this method a couple times for some stuck rings and it worked like a champ! It will break down the carbon around the rings in the ring lands/grooves and let them move to hit the cylinder walls again like they should. If the motor sat for any period of time and ran rich before, your rings may be stuck... Not saying this is the case but an easy and cheap thing to do to see if it helps, and a heck of a lot cheaper than tearing onto the motor if you plan on replacing it anyway with the big block. Just let that top oil soak for a couple days then do it again if you really feel lucky. After a few days, leave the plugs out, use the starter to rotate your motor with the carb held wide open with the fuel pump off (electric) or returning the fuel line to the carb (mechanical) back into a bucket or drum (DO NOT PUMP CARB) for about 20-30 seconds. Then, CHANGE YOUR OIL AND FILTER!!!

Hook up the fuel line, new plugs back in, gapped as they should be, and fire that thing back up. May just solve yer issues... may not... but worth a try for under $100. Might make sure you're getting proper voltage to the coil/HEI too while you're at it.
 

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1972 6 Cylinder Dragster :)
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Discussion Starter · #82 ·
TH400 and that big block along with your new rear diff would work great. Shouldn't be anything left to break at that point.

You are doing caltracs ? Are you going to use their split mono springs as well?
I've got the whole caltrac setup for the rear, their adjustable shocks, split mono springs and the caltracs themselves.
 

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1972 6 Cylinder Dragster :)
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Discussion Starter · #83 ·
@Stroker Ace Ventura I'm fairly confident it's oil (when I pull the plugs again I'll take photos and post them) but I've pretty much put the motor on the back-burner, while most guys would make it a priority, I haven't. I guess for lack of anything else to do, except put an adjustment on the front coil overs and start disassembling the rear suspension, I can drop the headers and do a proper compression test on all of the cylinders tonight. I never have heard of the marvel mystery oil trick but I do remember if you have a cylinder with poor compression you can squirt some oil into it and if the compression goes up, you've got bad rings. I did pay attention that day.

I can give it a go, it's not going to hurt anything and might help. I'll go grab some new plugs tonight after work also and I'll throw them in after everything is done. It would be sweet if there was some life in this yet. It doesn't sound horrible, maybe a little valve noise so those could probably use an adjustment, which is something else I need to learn how to do. I really get the impression the last owner was more interested in putting flashy valve covers and such on the car instead of maintaining and improving it. When I first pulled the plugs, some were finger tight. When I changed the oil filter, it was screwed on so tight I had to use a breaker bar to get it off...it wasn't pretty but I know that's not normal. Oh, it was also "timed by ear". I have since invested in an adjustable timing gun and I got her with around 30 total advance. I could probably give her a little bit more but getting someone outside to help me hold it at 3500 RPM while I make the adjustments and check the timing can be challenging.
 

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I've got the whole caltrac setup for the rear, their adjustable shocks, split mono springs and the caltracs themselves.
It's been a long time since I've seen a stock wheel well but there are a few options for moving the rear of the leaf inboard for more tire clearance. Are you looking at moving them in or leaving them in the factory location?
 

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@unstable Worth a shot for sure. If the valves need an adjustment (solid or hyd, I cannot recall what you stated in previous discussions), they may have been maladjusted with too much preload and a valve may not be seating properly because of it, causing a misfire... and un-burned fuel too. Check out this link for a super easy method to adjust valves on a SBC. i use it all the time and it's the best I've used to date.
How to adjust valves and preload on an SBC the EASY way
 

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1972 6 Cylinder Dragster :)
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Discussion Starter · #86 ·
It's been a long time since I've seen a stock wheel well but there are a few options for moving the rear of the leaf inboard for more tire clearance. Are you looking at moving them in or leaving them in the factory location?

I'd love to get fatter tires at some point, I think it's fairly involved though and I'm bleeding money on this build. Hopefully some day I'll do something.
 

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ya just need traction! I learned that drag racing a bike back in the 80's... Once I got traction, I nearly crapped myself each run... and wheelie bars are MANDATORY!!! Cars, same thing. Geometry and physics are key elements to traction, coupled with the best tire you can afford (DOT street radial semi-slick or a drag-racing only slick), and you can get some wicked fast runs with a small tire. Seriously fast!!
 

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Mike - 74 Nova Baltimore, MD
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I'd love to get fatter tires at some point, I think it's fairly involved though and I'm bleeding money on this build.
I noticed that you are getting a new 9" rear. Are you going with a stock width?... or getting it narrowed?

The reason I ask is because a lot of 3rd gen owners have installed 255... and even 275 wide tires within the stock rear wheel wells (with a stock rear and stock leaf spring location), but it usually requires getting custom offset wheels.
Since you are buying a new rear, you may want to looking into how much it would need to be narrowed so you could use "off the shelf" wheels to fit a wider tire within your rear wheel wells without the extra cost of having to purchase custom offset wheels.

I know you have a lot going on... but just something to think about.
 

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1972 6 Cylinder Dragster :)
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Discussion Starter · #92 ·
I noticed that you are getting a new 9" rear. Are you going with a stock width?... or getting it narrowed?

The reason I ask is because a lot of 3rd gen owners have installed 255... and even 275 wide tires within the stock rear wheel wells (with a stock rear and stock leaf spring location), but it usually requires getting custom offset wheels.
Since you are buying a new rear, you may want to looking into how much it would need to be narrowed so you could use "off the shelf" wheels to fit a wider tire within your rear wheel wells without the extra cost of having to purchase custom offset wheels.

I know you have a lot going on... but just something to think about.
If I knew what I was doing, I probably would but I don't and I'd actually like to receive the rear-end and throw on the new suspension, plumb for the disc brakes and go cruise without having to buy any new wheels or tires or anything else. Not knowing what I'm doing, outside of basic mechanics, I'd probably order it too narrow or something and it wouldn't fit what I have, stuff would rub, I'd have to buy new wheels and my wallet is already crying.
 

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1972 6 Cylinder Dragster :)
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Discussion Starter · #93 ·
May 27th, 2021
I got to chatting with @Stroker Ace Ventura and I pulled codes off the block to confirm it's a 350 and not a 305 that someone threw 882 heads on with roller rockers. It is indeed a 350, made in Flint Michigan on October 10th, codes has it going in pickup trucks in 1974, 78 and 80 with an estimated 160 HP. I'm not sure how we got on it, but I ended up pulling the plugs with the intention of dropping the headers and running compression tests on all of the cylinders. The first time I pulled the plugs after purchasing the car they looked oil fouled. I went to the parts store, bought new plugs and wires. Pulled the plugs I put in less than a month ago and surprisingly they looked reasonably good! Smelled a little gassy and I know she's running rich, but no oil fouling is a great thing.

I went to replace the wires and realized that the kit I bought requires a crimper, which I don't have...so I was about to put the old wires back on when I noticed several of them were roached, plus they weren't quality wires to begin with. I was about to plug them back up when I had this genius idea to rob wires off of my 1977 Pickup truck. Pretty decent set of wires on that rig, 8.5mm I want to say. Anyhow, I'm outside getting bit by bugs, trying to put these new wires back nicely into this [email protected]$$ organizer thing that bolts to the valve covers, I'm dropping the nuts and the little clips and my patience is absolutely wearing on me. My back is screaming and I'm thinking to myself I HATE THIS CAR how am I ever going to find the motivation to tear the rear suspension out and install a new rear and suspension when I can't even put this back together without dropping and losing pieces into the headers and cross member. I end up not using the stupid wire separators, it was a dumb idea to put these wires in them anyways because I'm going to buy a crimper and put the new wires together. I get everything back together, fire it up, rev it up...sounds terrific, no miss, no stumble, like...wow.

I decide to take her for a little kick around the town. I jumped on it from a dead stop and actually broke traction a teeeny tiny bit. There's a bit of a stumble in her which I'm guessing means I need to look at what is installed for accelerator pump jets and maybe move up one, but WOW this thing runs like a new motor.
 

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@unstable remember... KISS! We talked about that before.. I have wasted countless hours tracking down gremlins that weren't there because I failed to adhere to that moniker. So glad you found the wires and plugs needed attention!! Once you get the new wires on there and do a little tuning, you may fall in love with that car all over again and change your sig to "I LOVE THIS CAR"... just maybe! HAHAHAHA!! Awesome you got some good response from the motor too!! Breaking the tires loose is the best thing after it ran like a dog for so long. It's the little things...

Good job, bro!! (y)(y) Glad it's heading in a positive direction!!

~andy
 

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@unstable sounds like you'll be needing some really good sticky DOT slicks for your blasts around town, bro!! Just awesome!! (y)(y)(y) Not sure the DMV could really be too much of a pain in the rear on that one, not foul language... meets the requirements for digits and numerical values and really is protected by your 1st amendment freedom of speech and expression without violating anyone else's. Meets and passes the sniff test.... Fingers crossed!! :unsure:(y)
 

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Mike - 74 Nova Baltimore, MD
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Glad to hear the change in spark plug wires netted positive results.
My back is screaming and I'm thinking to myself I HATE THIS CAR how am I ever going to find the motivation to tear the rear suspension out and install a new rear and suspension when I can't even put this back together without dropping and losing pieces into the headers and cross member.
If you think you hate your car now... just wait until you begin to remove the bolts holding the front spring eye brackets in place (Red circles in photo below). Only kidding... sort of. Maybe you'll be lucky.

A week prior to tackling this task, I highly advise you get a can of PB Blaster and attach the little straw to the spray nozzle and insert the straw thru openings in the rear frame rails so you can pre-soak the threaded portion of the bolts holding the spring eye brackets in place (Green arrows). Also spray the threaded portion of the bolts used in the rear shackles.Spray all of these locations every day for a week prior to the rear suspension/rear end removal.
419830

Unfortunately, the cage nuts that are holding the front spring brackets are known to break when trying to remove the bolts. Even when using the PB Blaster as suggested above, it is "hit or miss" as to the success of this task.

I sprayed all of my bolts for a week prior to my rear suspension R&R several years ago... and I still broke 3 out of the 6 cage nuts used at the front spring eye bracket. If... and when the cage nuts break (you'll know it when the bolts just free spins), you'll have to get creative with the bolt removal. I recall shoving a flat blade screw driver into the openings in the rear frame rails to "jamb" the cage nuts in place while I removed the bolts... and I needed to use a sawzall to remove the seized spring eye bolts to separate the front of the leaf spring from the bracket. I also recall creating a lot of new cuss words during this task.

Also do some research on rear suspension J-nuts... your probably going to need 6 of them.
 

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YES!!! Exactly what @RifRaf said X 1,000,000,000 /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ SOAK THOSE BOLTS AND NUTS!! (THERE, I SAID IT!!) :p :oops::geek: try tightening them a touch first then hit them again with the PB Blaster and let 'em soak a few more hours/days/weeks/ eons... I have found tightening them pushes the threads on to better threads and will permit the solvents to penetrate the threads where they couldn't before and loosening them only immediately forces the threads to ramp on rust and filth which creates heat,fatigue and then... our favorite... BREAKAGE!!! Patience is definitely a virtue here!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #99 ·
@RifRaf hey, I actually did something right for once...I know I'm a long-winded basta#@ but in my post where I took those photos I did in fact use PB Blaster on all of those bolts. I'll probably spray them down some more over the next several weeks while I wait for the rear. Also Rif Raff, if you have some recommendations as to how much I can narrow the rear and still run what I have without having to buy new wheels and tires, I'd do it if it's going to make life mo' betta' in the future.
 

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Mike - 74 Nova Baltimore, MD
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Also RifRaf, if you have some recommendations as to how much I can narrow the rear and still run what I have without having to buy new wheels and tires, I'd do it if it's going to make life mo' betta' in the future.
I replied to your PM.
In a nutshell, if you were going to narrow your new rear end... you would need to install all of the new rear suspension components (leaf springs, bushings, traction aids, etc) and install you current rear to get some baseline measurements (wheel/tire clearances from both sides of rear wheel wheel + wheel/tire clearance to leaf spring) to determine how much the wheels would need to move inward on each side (towards the axle) to center the current wheels within the wheel well... and also avoid the rear wheels/tires hitting the leaf springs.

My PM gave some examples, but since each Nova has some variations... you really need to do the install as stated above + take some measurements + do the math if you decide to go this route.
I would hate to provide a generic "narrowed rear measurement" based on my 74 Nova's rear end
set-up only to find that your Nova is slightly different.

Your rear end builder may also be able to provide some guidance. Just let them know what you are trying to accomplish.
 
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