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 Post Posted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 10:36 pm 
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I'm going to have to stop doing things on autopilot.

The weather was nice last weekend so I decided to play musical cars Friday night so I could drive Darwin over the weekend. When I entered the garage I saw a small oily puddle right under the left exhaust pipe, but I was tired and my brain must have been disengaged. When I tried to start the engine, it REALLY didn't want to turn over. If I was thinking, I would have opened the hood and checked the oil, but I eventually got her to crank over and assumed the trouble was just from sitting in the garage for too long. I drove the car around the block, moved my daily driver up the driveway and restarted Darwin and parked her at the foot of the drive.

The next morning, I climbed in to go out and the engine wouldn't turn over, the starter was struggling but no rotation. I finally checked the oil and found a little dab of it at the tip of the dipstick. :oops:

I was in such a hurry to check the oil that I locked my keys in the car, so I had to prevail on a friend to help call a locksmith, once inside the house, I called a tow truck to get the car over to the garage to see how bad the damage is. I'm betting that the 4.3 is toast, but a second opinion wouldn't hurt.

This gives me the perfect excuse to try that 305 swap I've been dreaming about, unfortunately my employer is shutting down by the end of next year and I'll need to find a new job before I can afford to play with my toys again. :(

Any idea how I got oil into my exhaust???

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Darwin, a 1979 Malibu Wagon with a 3 speed Manual box and 2.41 gears in back
Engine is a '85 4.3 V6 topped by an Edelbrock Performer and a 465cfm Holley 4160. The heads have a 3 angle valve job and the cam is a Crower Level 1 240HDP grind with Comp Magnum 1.52/1.60 rocker arms. Full headers with 1 1/2 primaries dump into duals with 2 1/2 tubes and turbomufflers.

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 Post Posted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 5:28 pm 
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my money is no an electrical issue; bad/corroded connections. I don't think the oil is related or you would have seen lots of smoke.


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 Post Posted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 8:58 pm 
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If it wasn't knocking then it's possible the engine is ok. Plus no oil on the dipstick doesn't mean no oil, it's just at least a quart low. See how much oil you need to add to get to the full mark, the 4.3 takes 5 quarts with filter I'm pretty sure. Also I can't remember, what heads are you running?

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 Post Posted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 10:46 pm 
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Hmmm...Didn't think to check the battery connections & my mechanic has been so busy between work and muscle car projects for customers that he probably won't get to it for a few weeks.

Unfortunately I'm working lots of overtime and just dont have the free time to look at this. To make matters far more interesting, Boeing's shutting my worksite (Boeing Wichita) down in a year or two so I'm trying to devote the little free time I do have to finding a new job so I can afford to spend money on my cars. Gotta love Boeing

Oh and the heads are 85 heads with a slight port and three angle valve job.

Darwinskeeper
Last of the Bohicans

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"All middle aged men are pigs," Porco Rosso

Darwin, a 1979 Malibu Wagon with a 3 speed Manual box and 2.41 gears in back
Engine is a '85 4.3 V6 topped by an Edelbrock Performer and a 465cfm Holley 4160. The heads have a 3 angle valve job and the cam is a Crower Level 1 240HDP grind with Comp Magnum 1.52/1.60 rocker arms. Full headers with 1 1/2 primaries dump into duals with 2 1/2 tubes and turbomufflers.

Image


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 Post Posted: Tue May 01, 2012 10:40 pm 
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Finally got Darwin back from the shop. It turned out to be a blown head gasket. The repair bill was spendy, and the tow truck driver losing the door lock key was a pain, but I eventually got the locksmith over, got a new lock key and backup keys made for both Darwin and White Lightning (my 80 El Camino) so I'm finally able to hit the road.

I'm really starting to fall back in love with the old car. The 4.3 may not have the most kick, and the gearing can be a bit tall/clumsy but she feels and sounds nice. Sunday afternoon cruised to the supermarket in 2nd gear on the inner city highway (2nd gear in a Saginaw with 2.41 gears gives me about 4000-4500rpm at 60mph) She sounded like she was going flat out. It was great!!! At this point I'm thinking of just enjoying her and save up to get the El Camino electrified.

Better still, I had three promissing interviews this week, so I might even be at a new employer in June.

Life is good!!! :D

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"All middle aged men are pigs," Porco Rosso

Darwin, a 1979 Malibu Wagon with a 3 speed Manual box and 2.41 gears in back
Engine is a '85 4.3 V6 topped by an Edelbrock Performer and a 465cfm Holley 4160. The heads have a 3 angle valve job and the cam is a Crower Level 1 240HDP grind with Comp Magnum 1.52/1.60 rocker arms. Full headers with 1 1/2 primaries dump into duals with 2 1/2 tubes and turbomufflers.

Image


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 Post Posted: Wed May 02, 2012 2:11 am 
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I'd say try to find a 3-line 4-speed, it will make things much more enjoyable with what you have... basically 1-2 will be split and 2-3 will be split - very nice gear spacing.

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'92 Sierra - EBL/TBI-fed Vortec 383/700R4/3.08
'87 Fiero GT - 2.8/5-speed
'78 Malibu - Vortec 350/4-speed (for now)


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 Post Posted: Sun May 06, 2012 12:07 pm 
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When you look for a Saginaw 4 speed, bear in mind that you cannot buy a replacement cluster gear for a Saginaw.


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 Post Posted: Sun May 06, 2012 3:21 pm 
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If you look here near the bottom you'll see they have a gear "kit" only for the 3.50 1st gear Saginaws, at a pretty hefty price. At that point I would look for a T10. They're stronger and I believe you can get hard parts for them too.

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'92 Sierra - EBL/TBI-fed Vortec 383/700R4/3.08
'87 Fiero GT - 2.8/5-speed
'78 Malibu - Vortec 350/4-speed (for now)


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 Post Posted: Mon May 21, 2012 2:55 pm 
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I never really gave much thought to the Saginaw 4 speed, always figured that if I was willing to deal with that level of fragility, I'd look for the more common S-10/S-15 T5 and get more flexible gearing. Otherwise, I'd just go with a 3.42 first gear Super T-10 and enjoy the extra robustness.

Do you know if the Saginaw 4 speed would have the same shifter location as the 3 speed?

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"All middle aged men are pigs," Porco Rosso

Darwin, a 1979 Malibu Wagon with a 3 speed Manual box and 2.41 gears in back
Engine is a '85 4.3 V6 topped by an Edelbrock Performer and a 465cfm Holley 4160. The heads have a 3 angle valve job and the cam is a Crower Level 1 240HDP grind with Comp Magnum 1.52/1.60 rocker arms. Full headers with 1 1/2 primaries dump into duals with 2 1/2 tubes and turbomufflers.

Image


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 Post Posted: Fri May 25, 2012 8:09 pm 
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Yes, the Saginaw 3 and 4 speed have the same tailshaft and shifter mounting bracket.


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