The little engine that could.....

After reading the recent thread about registering your custom car here I was wondering if any of the mechanically inclined Teeming millions might have some advice. I have a 1972 Buick Skylark convertable I love the car, but it needs some work. I can’t do body work, and it doesn’t need much, so I’ll wait till I can afford to have that done professionally. But I was wondering if there is anything I can do to smooth out the engine. It has a 350 Cleveland, with 92K original miles on it. I’ve noticed recently that it tends to knock a little upon acceleration. Any ideas on what I can do to help it out? I’m not looking for a show car, or a hot rod, just a nice car that’s fun to drive, and runs smooth. Thanks…

But anyway one thing you might want to think about is the valve lifters. They can begin to stick after a while, especially if you’ve been kind of lax about changing the oil. Makes kind of a clicking sound, to the speed of the engine, There are some good oil treatments(not slick50 type stuff) that clean up the lifters. I can’t remeber the name of the best one, but if you ask the guys at the auto store thyll help ya.

ps. I knew ford made a 351 cleveland but I never heard of of a 350 cleveland

You didn’t say whether the the engine was blowing smoke of any kind (i.e.: white or black exhaust) or what condition your spark plugs are in.

A couple of things that you might be able to do is to have the timing checked and possible have the valves adjusted. On older cars that were meant to use leaded gasoline, you might want to dump some lead additive into the gas tank whenever you fill up.

“It’s only common sense,
There are no accidents 'round here.”

Try higher octane gas or a lead additive.

I am wondering about that motor though. I’ve never heard of a “350 Cleveland”. I know Ford used to put “351 Clevland’s” and “351 Windsor’s” in the Mustangs.

Well, there’s a totally redundant post.

Ok ok ok …I knew that was wrong when I typed it, just didn’t think about it…I’m sorry…the last time I worked on a car was about 10 years ago…I’ve gotten lazy, and usually pay someone to do stuff now. But one of the reasons I like this car is that it’s fairly simple (in relation to new cars) and that I can do some of the work myself. I’ll change the plugs as soon as we get a break in the weather.

I thought I was supposed to use a lower octane with the older car?..Should I put the lead additive in every time I fill up?..once a month?..I don’t drive it all the time, if nothing else, the cost of gas prevents me from doing that…

I don’t really have any smoke blowing out…a few puffs of white smoke when I first start it, but on a 28 year old car, that didn’t worry me.

Anything out of the ordinary here will cause problems, and the problems cannot even be diagnosed until the ignition system is put right.
Make sure the distributor vac advance is working. Replace the plugs, cap + rotor, and if not electronic ignition, the points + condenser. If the coil or wires are more than 5 years old, replace them too (especially the wires). Then set the timing to the correct point and see how it runs.

If it still knocks, you can back the timing off (no more than 4 degrees or so), or use higher octane gas, or both. Don’t worry about additives, significant valve wear due to the lack of leaded gasoline won’t show up for 50k miles or so.

wolfman, I don’t know what product you are thinking of, but a quart of ordinary ATF added to the oil and run for an hour or so will do the same thing.