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1976 Trans Am

96 Views 1 Reply 2 Participants Last post by  brianb
We bought a 1976 Trans Am 4 speed 400 engine in Rhode Island. Started and ran, very loud. Owner had passed away, and family sold it. We were told the car was sent out, and the engine was rebuilt. Car has headers, and has the usual problem with the clutch rod hitting the header when you push it down. We got the car home to Mass, and when checking the oil, we discovered a more severe problem, but fixable. The dipstick bottom was broken off. So we put another dipstick in, and started the car, and shut it off, and broke THAT dipstick. Whoever rebuilt the engine FORGOT to put the dipstick extension tube in the oil pan! the dipstick end flopping in the oil pan gets destroyed by the crankshaft. So, all we can do is bring it to our transmission shop, and have them remove the oil pan, then remove the two dipstick pieces, install the extension dipstick tube, and see if the scraper is on the crank main bearings. We plan to do that this summer. I'm too old to attempt to fix it myself. We don't know if anything else is damaged in the oil pan, or if it has the oil scraper. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks.
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Before you drop the pan, you could try this. Buy a magnetic pick-up tool that has a flexible aluminum shaft. Drain oil, bend shaft, insert into pan and try to fish out the dipstick pieces. You can configure these to even reach over to the oil pump pick-up screen if you take your time. Next swap in a GOOD magnetic oil drain plug to catch any remaining small parts. The pump screen and oil filter just might trap any smaller bits. How do I know this??? My roller rocker arms destroyed my valley pan from over tightening the the 2 long bolts that hold it down. Lots of carnage/small bits was found in the lifter valley afterwards but no scoring of the cam lobes or loss of oil pressure. After flushing with 3 gallons of fresh oil, thoroughly cleaning valley pan, and "fishing" with a flexible magnetic tool and drain issues after 3 years and around 50 passes at the drag strip. You might even be able to drag a stronger magnet outside across your oil pan in an attempt to attract/drag bits over to the drain plug hole. It's worth a try.
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