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Old 02-01-2016, 02:42 PM   #1
Tubby
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Default Intake valley sludge

I have a 1939 Deluxe. I removed the pan to clean the sludge. Following advice on the Forum, I removed the intake manifold to remove sludge from the valley. There is not much "liquid" sludge, only in the depressions (the motor has not run for 6 months). But there is a thin layer of crusty, dry sludge in the valley. My question is: am I doing more harm than good by trying to remove this sludge? If not, any suggestions on how to remove without increase risk of introducing more particulate matter into the oiling system?
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Old 02-01-2016, 03:18 PM   #2
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Default Re: Intake valley sludge

Personally, I'd try to remove every bit of that sludge I could, washing it all down into the sump with a good solvent. Then I'd pull the oil pan and give it a thorough cleaning, since it's probably at least as gunked up, if not more. Doing things right isn't always easy but it pays off in the long run. Just my $0.02, which, admittedly, doesn't go as far as it used to at today's exchange rate. :-)
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Old 02-01-2016, 03:18 PM   #3
Mart
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Default Re: Intake valley sludge

Ok, I'll bite. If that motor were in one piece I'd leave it alone and continue to run it. As the pan is off though, , I would wash the valley down and try and flush as much of that stuff out the bottom. I wouldn't go mad, just give it a couple of washes through with gasoline, or your favourite cleaning solution. The two sheet metal shields unclip, so they can be removed and washed thoroughly. The areas under the clips can be cleaned then.

Really, to my eyes at least, that does not look bad at all, but as the pan is off, washing off anything you can is probably a good idea. For any crud to do damage, it would have to become unlodged, and get through the oil filter screen and then get pumped up to a bearing. The chances of this happening must be pretty slim.

Either leave it alone, or wash what you can out, either would work.

What you wouldn't want to do, is wash that valley out with the pan on. You would never know how much crud you have moved into the pan and would be sitting there waiting to be picked up by the oil and pumped round the engine.

On my motors I have put a couple of magnets in the bottom of the valley in case any metallic particles come floating by.

Other people's opinion may, and will, vary.

Mart.
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Old 02-01-2016, 03:21 PM   #4
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Default Re: Intake valley sludge

What 'Mart' said above. ^ Excellent advice....
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Old 02-01-2016, 03:27 PM   #5
Jack E/NJ
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Default Re: Intake valley sludge

Mart>>>Really, to my eyes at least, that does not look bad at all>>>

Agreed. Mine didn't look much better after it was de-gunked. To my eyes, almost looks clean enough to start running modern high detergent oil thru it.

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Old 02-01-2016, 03:28 PM   #6
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Default Re: Intake valley sludge

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^^But don't put your self forward for the Darwin awards by dousing it in gas first!

Mart.
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Old 02-01-2016, 03:40 PM   #7
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Default Re: Intake valley sludge

Sludge on "hasn't tun in 50 years" engines is always a problem.
In the past, Certain brands of oil contained more wax than others, Pennzoil for instance, was an oil that promoted sludge build up.
Less frequent oil changes, Engine wear that contributed to blow-by and other factors contributed to sludge In The Old Days..

Original unrestored Flatheads can contain pounds of sludge often up to an inch thick or thicker.
Your engine looks fairly clean, I see no real concern. The biggest thing to worry about is older engines that have not been torn in the last half a century.
Most Owners today and for the last 30+ years have been more attuned to keeping their rides maintained with frequent oil changes using 40 year newer oils.

Your biggest concern should be in not babying the engine so much that you never blow the carbon out the tail pipe.
Carbon shortens engine life (internals) and almost more or less self propegates
inside an engine. It appears as medium dark brown rock hard tar that adheres to
all things internal but is more noticeable when you pull the intake manifold on a Flathead.
When mixed with yesterdays high wax based oils, it accumulates as sludge, and as stated, it used to be found an inch thick.

I don't know why you have pulled the intake, I don't know the miles or the condition of motor that brought you to peek under the hood.
If you are experiencing blowby or are having problems with sticky valves then I can understand your concern with carbon/sludge.

If your engine is running fine, then you really should have no concern.
If carbon is interfering with valve stems, then clean/wash the valve stems with diesel fuel.
Diesel fuel contains additives that help clean industrial engine/internals so that they may make 500,000 miles (or more). The inside of a diesel engine is much more prone to high heat based carbon than our babied little Flatheads will ever see in the rest of their life times.

I have used Diesel fuel to clean gasoline engine for many years. With poorly maintained engines, I will drain the oil and add a gallon and a half of diesel oil to the crank and run the engine on this thin oil for 5 or 10 minutes before pulling the intake manifold. Running the engine really helps in circulating/washing all the engine internals.

When i pull the intake, I continue with liberal applications of diesel using various brushes to scrub things like valve stems etc. Brass brushes (of varying sizes) work the best. Once I'm done scrubbing the valley clean, the oil pan plug is pulled and everything comes out. I usually take a sample and it's amazing how black the fresh diesel oil is.
This is usually an afternoon job with the hardest part being replacement of intake and correct belt tensioning.


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Old 02-01-2016, 03:42 PM   #8
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Default Re: Intake valley sludge

When I opened my 1937 Ford 85hp up for the first time, I found not only gunk in the valley but also a shop rag some one had left behind. I actually had run the car for a few miles (not knowing the rag was in the valley) before I took the manifold off. How long that rag was in there I could not tell you. The car pretty much sat from 1962 or so until it was run briefly in 1990 then put in to storage again. I got the car running in 2013. The rag could be 50 + years in the valley or 23 years in the valley.
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Old 02-01-2016, 03:43 PM   #9
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Default Re: Intake valley sludge

Make sure any brushes you use are well broken in and not shedding bristles all over the place.

Mart.
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Old 02-01-2016, 03:46 PM   #10
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Default Re: Intake valley sludge

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mart View Post
Make sure any brushes you use are well broken in and not shedding bristles all over the place.

Mart.
This is great advice ...
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Old 02-01-2016, 03:51 PM   #11
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Default Re: Intake valley sludge

I use oven spray cleaner on stuff like that and it rinses off with water. It will look like new when done. with the pan off you can spray up into the crankcase and wash that out also.
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Old 02-01-2016, 03:54 PM   #12
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Default Re: Intake valley sludge

All the oldtimes I knew as a kid used Kerosene.
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Old 02-01-2016, 03:56 PM   #13
Bruce Lancaster
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Default Re: Intake valley sludge

Also, rotate the crank a few times and keep cleaning to knock down whatever stopped half way down.
Then rotate once more to eyeball the rod side-clearance areas and hose out anything suspicious in there with spray carb cleaner.
I controlled all the solvents and crud from a major cleanup by putting a large cardboard box under the engine and first lining it with heavy newspaper (Sunday NYT) sections then filling it wit a lot of wadded newspaper. It trapped everything and stayed usable throughout the sweepdown because much of the solvent soaked into the wadding and then evaporated.
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Old 02-01-2016, 04:01 PM   #14
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Default Re: Intake valley sludge

This is what diesel oil looks like after running in an engine for 5-10
minutes.
This sample was from my 49 Mercury that has 45,000 miles without ever
being touched.
the valley had heavy carbon deposits and valves were sticking.


Your engine looks too clean to worry about.



Note, this was the second run through of diesel as the first run failed to fix the sticky valves so I was forced to pull the intake.

















As you can see, the sludge is non existent from a prior run with diesel but the hard carbon was untouched leading to intake removal and scrubbing. Don't use steel brushes.












.
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File Type: jpg 49 merc oil.jpg (46.7 KB, 326 views)
File Type: jpg 49 merc oil2.jpg (30.8 KB, 324 views)
File Type: jpg CARBON AND WAX ON VALVE STEM 8BA -001.jpg (60.9 KB, 328 views)
File Type: jpg CARBON AND WAX 8BA -001.jpg (75.7 KB, 328 views)
File Type: jpg 01062149MERCURY.jpg (94.9 KB, 325 views)

Last edited by moefuzz; 02-01-2016 at 06:42 PM.
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Old 02-01-2016, 06:31 PM   #15
Tubby
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Default Re: Intake valley sludge

Thanks everyone for the benefit of your experience. What I failed to mention is that the pan is back on the engine and the thought of removing it again and all that entails puts some perspective on my next step.
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Old 02-01-2016, 07:17 PM   #16
Bruce Lancaster
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Default Re: Intake valley sludge

If pan isn't coming back off. leave the sludge where it is. You can't adequately get it all out, AND the first result of trying is going to get a bunch of the remaining debris to work clogging your oil pump screen. You won't like that.
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Old 02-02-2016, 09:27 AM   #17
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Default Re: Intake valley sludge

Before reassembly, I would suggest you lube each lifter and valve stem before closing the valley. It would also be a good idea to rotate the engine by hand and lube again as you turn. Make sure every lifter and valve moves up and down. Valves have been known to stick open.
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Old 02-02-2016, 12:09 PM   #18
Mart
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Default Re: Intake valley sludge

Armed with the "Pan is already back on" info, and having revisited your original pics, here's what I would do.

I would remove and wash the clip on sheet metal covers. I would mop out the oil collected in the central depressions, (liquid oil) and carefully scrape out the congealed oil in the shallow depressions. I would make sure anything dislodged got removed in an upwards direction, nothing going downwards. I would avoid disturbing the thinly coated deposits.

I would put magnets in the deeper depressions, oil everything up and button it back up.

If the engine was running ok before, it should continue to run well after, with the added benefit of knowing everything is clean (enough) inside. I would also run detergent oil and maintain frequent oil changes, at least once a year depending on mileage.

I might consider an oil change a few hundred mile after the initial change. For the initial fill at least I wouldn't waste money on expensive oil. It'll only be in a month or so.

Mart.
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Old 02-02-2016, 03:20 PM   #19
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Default Re: Intake valley sludge

IF you haven't doused it in some snake oyl concoction your grubby shop vac will do wonders . Take an ATF funnel and put it over the vac hose and use the small end to vacuum up anything loose or what you scrape off . I have seen dried up crap come right out doing this . It also works well on old gas tanks THAT ARE DRY AND HAVE NO FUMES IN THEM . Not kidding about the fumes thing .
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