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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi My 57 Chevy Belair 283 which I have owned since 2005 I have noticed some engine oil laying in the inlet manifold in the small well sections, it appears to be drawn upwards from the oil bath filter then running down the Rochester 2GC carb . The oil level is correct? It WAS worse when I noticed that the kick down power pump seal had rotted away. I have rebuilt the carb with a rebuild kit. The power is back but still traces of oil .Any help for UK Chevy owner please. Regards Johnny
 

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Could also be coming around the threads on the intake bolts.
 

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We talk a lot about an engine block consuming oil. Not as well known these days is an air cleaner consuming oil.

If you fill an oil bath air cleaner above the "full" mark, you'll end up with a smoke screen coming out the tailpipe. Even at the full level, it will slowly pull in oil and drain the level to some extent.

Based on your description, I think this is normal. Just clean the mesh every few thousand miles and keep the oil close to the full level.

The oil you use is important as well. The original specification called for 50 weight oil. That's single-viscosity 50 weight - not 20w50 or whatever. Too-thin oil is obviously easier to suck into the carburetor.

Since single viscosity 50 weight oil is not exactly easy to find these days, I take some 80w-90 gear oil and thin it just a bit with single viscosity 30 weight oil. Since the sole purpose of the oil is to trap dirt as opposed to specific lubricating properties, the main thing that matters is the thickness of the oil.

Here's how I recommend maintaining the air cleaner:

Clean the mesh using mineral spirits, kerosene (I think you call it "paraffin"), gasoline (petrol) or similar solvent. Drain off the solvent, let it dry for an hour or two, then soak the mesh thoroughly with oil. Clean and dry the remaining parts of the air cleaner, then set the mesh in the air cleaner base. Let the mesh sit for a few minutes, allowing the excess oil to drip into the base. Then, remove the mesh and top off the oil level as required.

Oh, and don't forget - make sure you have the proper gasket fitted between the top of the carburetor and the base of the air cleaner. Not having that in place will surely allow oil leaks.
 

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Another thing to do is follow the instructions stovebolt mentioned and then stop when it comes to filling up the bottom of the oil bath. Keeping plenty of oil on the filter alone will be just fine. Clean it more frequently and add oil to the mesh.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
We talk a lot about an engine block consuming oil. Not as well known these days is an air cleaner consuming oil.

If you fill an oil bath air cleaner above the "full" mark, you'll end up with a smoke screen coming out the tailpipe. Even at the full level, it will slowly pull in oil and drain the level to some extent.

Based on your description, I think this is normal. Just clean the mesh every few thousand miles and keep the oil close to the full level.

The oil you use is important as well. The original specification called for 50 weight oil. That's single-viscosity 50 weight - not 20w50 or whatever. Too-thin oil is obviously easier to suck into the carburetor.

Since single viscosity 50 weight oil is not exactly easy to find these days, I take some 80w-90 gear oil and thin it just a bit with single viscosity 30 weight oil. Since the sole purpose of the oil is to trap dirt as opposed to specific lubricating properties, the main thing that matters is the thickness of the oil.

Here's how I recommend maintaining the air cleaner:

Clean the mesh using mineral spirits, kerosene (I think you call it "paraffin"), gasoline (petrol) or similar solvent. Drain off the solvent, let it dry for an hour or two, then soak the mesh thoroughly with oil. Clean and dry the remaining parts of the air cleaner, then set the mesh in the air cleaner base. Let the mesh sit for a few minutes, allowing the excess oil to drip into the base. Then, remove the mesh and top off the oil level as required.

Oh, and don't forget - make sure you have the proper gasket fitted between the top of the carburetor and the base of the air cleaner. Not having that in place will surely allow oil leaks.
Hi Thanks Buddy! I will take on board your comments and start by cleaning the oil bath filter out, and by the way I have 20.50 engine oil in the filter and YES its coming out and refilling to the LEVEL sign with some EP 90 thinned down a fraction. Regards Johnny I am nearly 80 years old by the way and still driving the Chevy on nice days to which today here it is nearly 80 degrees! 104 last week!
 

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Hi Thanks Buddy! I will take on board your comments and start by cleaning the oil bath filter out, and by the way I have 20.50 engine oil in the filter and YES its coming out and refilling to the LEVEL sign with some EP 90 thinned down a fraction. Regards Johnny I am nearly 80 years old by the way and still driving the Chevy on nice days to which today here it is nearly 80 degrees! 104 last week!
You're welcome!

Regarding oil viscosity - it's easy to forget what these numbers mean versus the historical context of when our trifives were built.

A 20w50 oil flows like a single viscosity 20 weight oil when cold, but like a single viscosity 50 weight oil at normal engine operating temperatures. Since the air cleaner intake while driving is slightly above the ambient outside temperature, a 20w50 is going to be slightly thicker than a 20 weight oil in the oil bath. So, using 20w50 would be no better than using single viscosity 30 weight oil, which is much too thin. That's why I start with 80w90 gear oil and thin it a bit with 30 weight, to get it somewhere near a single viscosity 50 weight. (Note - here in the US, I haven't seen straight 90 weight gear oil for a number of years; everything is either 80w90 or 75w90.)

I heard about the insanely hot 104 degrees in the UK last week! Here in North Carolina, we've been in the mid 90s for several weeks - but we have air conditioners in our homes, so we can hide inside when it's really hot. (FWIW - we've been having dewpoints in the upper 70s at the same time, so it can be quite unpleasant outdoors.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Another thing to do is follow the instructions stovebolt mentioned and then stop when it comes to filling up the bottom of the oil bath. Keeping plenty of oil on the filter alone will be just fine. Clean it more frequently and add oil to the mesh.
Hi Again guys. OK my oil bath filter on my Chevy is a 1957 283 Rochester 2 GC 2 barrel carb. The oil bath filter is the type with what looks like light brown horse hair in the top section with a wire mesh underneath it that I can just feel if I put my small finger inside the big round holes, it cannot be opened as its in a sealed part of the top of the filter, so I have just washed out this fibre filter mesh with paraffin NOT petrol, its dried out now in the hot sun at 10 AM this morning . So do I soak this fibre mesh with engine oil or EP 80 thinned slightly? OR just box the filter back together now with a dry fibre ? I still cannot understand how oil runs out of the carb into the inlet manifold and how can putting 2 copper washers on to the studs as its way lower than the inlet on the carb? And why does the exhaust not pump out blue smoke if its getting inside the carb from the filter?
 

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So far, you're doing everything correctly.

If you've not already done so, clean the oil and dirt from inside the base of the filter housing, then dry it.

Take the filter element and turn it so the large holes face upward. Slowly pour/drizzle your thinned EP80 into all the holes until it's full of oil. You should be able to see the oil level coming up towards the large holes.

I don't think you'll need to put your finger covering the hole where the threaded rod goes through, but if you have oil pouring through that hole, then you probably ought to do so. :)

Now, take the oil-filled filter element and turn it right-side-up in the base of the filter, positioning it as it would be installed in the car.

Wait about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the filter element, and check the level of oil in the base relative to the "full" mark. Adjust the oil level as required.

Now, reinstall the air cleaner on the engine.

Done correctly, your engine will still pull a little oil out of the air cleaner, but it will be a minute amount pulled over time, so you won't see a cloud of blue smoke coming out the exhaust.
 

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I've never ran an oil bath breather, always removed and went with cartridge filter. If the mesh needs oil in it to filter why would it not be possible to use K&N filter spray and just clean every 6 months or so?
 

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You're welcome!

Regarding oil viscosity - it's easy to forget what these numbers mean versus the historical context of when our trifives were built.

A 20w50 oil flows like a single viscosity 20 weight oil when cold, but like a single viscosity 50 weight oil at normal engine operating temperatures. Since the air cleaner intake while driving is slightly above the ambient outside temperature, a 20w50 is going to be slightly thicker than a 20 weight oil in the oil bath. So, using 20w50 would be no better than using single viscosity 30 weight oil, which is much too thin. That's why I start with 80w90 gear oil and thin it a bit with 30 weight, to get it somewhere near a single viscosity 50 weight
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Per the Shop manual it states engine oil for filter which is 10w-30 or even 10w-20 (this is in the book). I have always ran 10w-30 in my 235 oil bath and never had an issue. Nothing getting in intake, if oil level is right and mesh is installed. So don't see an issue with 30 weight?

But to OP, if it was me I would cut the the oil bath and install a paper filter several writeup here on how to do it.



(Note - here in the US, I haven't seen straight 90 weight gear oil for a number of years; everything is either 80w90 or 75w90.)
Tractor Supply has straight 90 weight GL-1 mineral oil usually in stock Labled as "Ford Trans oil". I run it in the 3 speed and all my IH manuals. GL-5 has additives that will eat some of the bushings in older transmission up. Also 50 weight motor oil will work in place of GL-1 in transmissions as well 50w motor is is same viscosity as 85-90w gear oil. Que the naysayers link for them How to Read a Gear Oil Viscosity Chart – AMSOIL Blog.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
So far, you're doing everything correctly.

If you've not already done so, clean the oil and dirt from inside the base of the filter housing, then dry it.

Take the filter element and turn it so the large holes face upward. Slowly pour/drizzle your thinned EP80 into all the holes until it's full of oil. You should be able to see the oil level coming up towards the large holes.

I don't think you'll need to put your finger covering the hole where the threaded rod goes through, but if you have oil pouring through that hole, then you probably ought to do so. :)

Now, take the oil-filled filter element and turn it right-side-up in the base of the filter, positioning it as it would be installed in the car.

Wait about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the filter element, and check the level of oil in the base relative to the "full" mark. Adjust the oil level as required.

Now, reinstall the air cleaner on the engine.

Done correctly, your engine will still pull a little oil out of the air cleaner, but it will be a minute amount pulled over time, so you won't see a cloud of blue smoke coming out the exhaust.
Thanks for that, I did not think of putting the oil in/on to the fibre element that way, a great idea. So the diluted oil poured over the fibre mesh SHOLD be about the correct level when I tip it back and let it drain down into the base of the filter where it says 'LEVEL' in the bottom of the filter , but I might just have to top it up slightly to get the correct level but if its near enough I am going to not fill it up to the level mark but slightly lower. I will wait for your reply before I post another problem with the valve rocker box leaking that you can help me with please. Regards John
 

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Per the Shop manual it states engine oil for filter which is 10w-30 or even 10w-20 (this is in the book). I have always ran 10w-30 in my 235 oil bath and never had an issue. Nothing getting in intake, if oil level is right and mesh is installed. So don't see an issue with 30 weight?
The owner's manual clearly states regular (I presume 20 or 30 weight) for the standard mesh filter used on 6 cylinders, and 50 weight on oil bath (optional on 6 cylinder and used on all V8):
as does the shop manual (except for consistently sub-freezing weather):
 

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Thanks for that, I did not think of putting the oil in/on to the fibre element that way, a great idea. So the diluted oil poured over the fibre mesh SHOLD be about the correct level when I tip it back and let it drain down into the base of the filter where it says 'LEVEL' in the bottom of the filter , but I might just have to top it up slightly to get the correct level but if its near enough I am going to not fill it up to the level mark but slightly lower. I will wait for your reply before I post another problem with the valve rocker box leaking that you can help me with please. Regards John
That's correct.

I'm guessing what you call a "valve rocker box" is what we call a "valve cover". If it's leaking, the first thing to do is make sure the 4 screws are snug (but don't tighten too much). You'll need a Phillips screwdriver, usually the larger size. There should be an unusual looking washer under the screw that looks a bit like a moustache.

If it's still leaking, remove it and ensure the sheet metal mounting surface is flat. If not, carefully straighten with a body hammer and dolly (or other flat surface). Clean both mating surfaces and install a new gasket.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I've never ran an oil bath breather, always removed and went with cartridge filter. If the mesh needs oil in it to filter why would it not be possible to use K&N filter spray and just clean every 6 months or so?
Hi the car is 100% original spec nothing has ever been done to change the car. 1 previous owner from new from Jacksonville FL with full history (paperwork ) from day one with a picture of the car being delivered to the lady's house. She drove it for the next 42 years and then sold it to Dream cars to where it ended up in the UK some months later. Its a 2 door p/less coupe, Powerglide with power stering
That's correct.

I'm guessing what you call a "valve rocker box" is what we call a "valve cover". If it's leaking, the first thing to do is make sure the 4 screws are snug (but don't tighten too much). You'll need a Phillips screwdriver, usually the larger size. There should be an unusual looking washer under the screw that looks a bit like a moustache.

If it's still leaking, remove it and ensure the sheet metal mounting surface is flat. If not, carefully straighten with a body hammer and dolly (or other flat surface). Clean both mating surfaces and install a new gasket.
Thanks for the info guys re the valve cover. I think its uneven at one end, the firewall end as the engine lays towards it slightly so I will take it off again and take a look with a flat surface. Its got a new gasket and I used a sealer silicone thats for cork gaskets
 

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Hi the car is 100% original spec nothing has ever been done to change the car. 1 previous owner from new from Jacksonville FL with full history (paperwork ) from day one with a picture of the car being delivered to the lady's house. She drove it for the next 42 years and then sold it to Dream cars to where it ended up in the UK some months later. Its a 2 door p/less coupe, Powerglide with power stering

Thanks for the info guys re the valve cover. I think its uneven at one end, the firewall end as the engine lays towards it slightly so I will take it off again and take a look with a flat surface. Its got a new gasket and I used a sealer silicone thats for cork gaskets
I never use any sealer on a cork gasket. Clean the valve cover and make sure it’s flat and clean and dry the head and make sure no oil is on it. People tend to overtighen bolts and warp the sealing area
 

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The owner's manual clearly states regular (I presume 20 or 30 weight) for the standard mesh filter used on 6 cylinders, and 50 weight on oil bath (optional on 6 cylinder and used on all V8):
as does the shop manual (except for consistently sub-freezing weather):
Ahh OK I was just going off the 55 manual lube chart 0-7 which says engine oil which I just based on 0-1 engine oil. I have ran 10-30 year round.
 
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