A Cautionary Tale

Small Block Mopar Engine

  1. jonn6464

    jonn6464 1970 Duster

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    I was playing with the timing today on my E-Body, LA 360 engine. I loosened the retaining cover and advanced it, tightened up the retainer and hopped inside.

    Started the car and was listening to the idle when I felt something strange on my gas pedal foot. I was wearing flip flops and it felt like something was crawling on me. I looked down and saw motor oil running down my foot.
    I quickly shut it down and got back under the hood where I saw oil all over the firewall, the valve covers, headers, and pouring down to the floor.
    After some detective work, I realized that the tiny nylon tube that carries oil from the block to the pressure gauge under the dash was split right above the fitting. It was pissing oil everywhere. I must have bumped it with the wrench when I was adjusting the dizzy retainer. I guess the tube was brittle after years of service. So, be careful down there if you have the same set up.
    I pulled the fitting and fed the tube through until the split was gone. It's functioning properly again, but I'm left with a hell of a mess. I wiped down a lot of it, but I need to pressure wash the engine bay.
    There is a question in all of this...
    There is oil on the bulkhead. Can I spray the bulkhead area lightly with degreaser and water? I'll leave it out in the sun all day to dry (it's 100 degrees here so it will dry). Will this do damage to the electrical connections at the bulkhead?

    0823201052c.jpg 0823201052.jpg
     
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    • mcodecuda

      mcodecuda Senior Member

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      I would change that plastic tubing to copper while you’re at it.
       
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      • kursplat

        kursplat FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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        and this is why i always use steel braided on those. glad you caught it in the driveway. de-grease and rinse. wrap the distributor in plastic so you don't get a bunch of water under the cap
         
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        • krazykuda

          krazykuda Well-Known Member FABO Gold Member How-To Section Editor

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          Copper work hardens and cracks with vibration...
           
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          • krazykuda

            krazykuda Well-Known Member FABO Gold Member How-To Section Editor

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            I carry a replacement nylon tube kit in my glove box for this reason... It happened to me once... Just once....
             
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            • 33IMP

              33IMP Well-Known Member

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              I 100% agree with kersplat and krazy. Nylon is illegal for nhra racing, and I don't trust copper either. My car has a.n. fittings and aircraft surplus braided stainless Teflon hose. Not cheap, but I'm race legal, and I won't have to clean my interior.
               
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              • Phreakish

                Phreakish Well-Known Member

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                A tube of hot, pressurized engine fluid into the cabin always seems insane to me.

                Personally, I'll stick to the electric sending units and gauges.
                 
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                • Dana67Dart

                  Dana67Dart Like a fine wine, only getting better with age! FABO Gold Member

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                  That's why I removed the same type of oil pressure guage the day I got my dart
                   
                • Joey4speed

                  Joey4speed FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                  John 6464,
                  I use copper tubing, for that very reason. Lucky for you it happened at home.
                  Thanks for bringing it to members attention.
                  Where do you find small diameter steel braided with fittings that small?
                  Joe
                   
                • harrisonm

                  harrisonm Well-Known Member

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                  Is this an aftermarket oil pressure setup? I don't remember these from the factory. Could you convert to a standard electric gauge with a sending unit? That would seem like a good idea to me.
                   
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                  • kursplat

                    kursplat FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                    i go to a hose place close by me and get them made. but you can get everything from summit, by going to the shop i don't need to worry about ordering the wrong fitting for the gauge. they're not all the same

                    senders can go bad, and i like having a mechanical oil gauge. i use a T and keep the dash light too
                     
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                    • Hyper_pak

                      Hyper_pak Old School Chrysler Fan

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                      AN-3 is the size. Aircraft Spruce has a good selection of fittings and such. Important to use Teflon lined braded hose, not rubber braded hose.
                       
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                      • 33IMP

                        33IMP Well-Known Member

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                        1/8 pipe female to a.n.3 for the gauge and engine end, with a short male/male 1/8 pipe nipple into the pressure port.
                         
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                        • Joey4speed

                          Joey4speed FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                          Shoutout to Gary from Performace Auto, small shop in PA did just that.
                          He incorporated an oil psi guage face into the standard Oil "idiot light" guage. Brilliant!
                          Looks original, until you look closely.
                          Screenshot_20200823-234342_Gallery.jpg
                           
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                          • kursplat

                            kursplat FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                            nice...
                             
                          • MoparMike1974

                            MoparMike1974 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                            I run copper because of this. I had a 71 duster and the oil pressure line blew inside the car. That car smelled like dirty motor oil from that day forward. The last one I installed I used the fancy braided line. They are pretty cheap and you can get them in just about any length you need.
                             
                          • RustyRatRod

                            RustyRatRod Bla de blizhibliz de blatde blizi bla bla FABO Gold Member

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                            I like good quality electric gauges. That way, you're not transferring fluid to the interior of the car.
                             
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                            • famous bob

                              famous bob mopar misfit

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                              Moral of the story , NEVER USE THE NYLON TUBING , ur own fault !
                               
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                              • vitamindart

                                vitamindart Well-Known Member

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                                I run braided AN line for just that reason. Will probably run an electrical gauge on the next build.
                                 
                              • jonn6464

                                jonn6464 1970 Duster

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                                Thanks for assigning blame Bob. Very helpful to the overall discussion.
                                 
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                                • famous bob

                                  famous bob mopar misfit

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                                  No problem , ''LOL'' , I have always used a copper line , but really like the braided ones , but have never seemed to want to spend the $$ on them at the time I needed it .
                                   
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                                  • jonn6464

                                    jonn6464 1970 Duster

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                                    I like the idea of the braided line. But, I'm actually glad I didn't have it this time. If the oil had not sprayed through the hole in the firewall, I would not have felt it on my foot. I was about to take off down the road, and who knows what might have happened.

                                    Anyone know if there are fittings to convert this to an electrical gauge, or do I just need a new one?
                                     
                                  • ir3333

                                    ir3333 Well-Known Member

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                                    as others have said.Good quality Stewart Warner electric.
                                     
                                  • Wyrmrider

                                    Wyrmrider FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                                    soft stainless tube works
                                     
                                  • justinp61

                                    justinp61 Well-Known Member

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                                    If you would've had the braided line you wouldn't have had the problem to begin with.
                                     
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