Passenger side head not getting oil

Sinsectan

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I've got a bit of head scratcher here.

For background, my front passenger side cylinder hasn't been firing when cold. Symptoms were popping in the exhaust, a top end/passenger side knock, and ridiculous amounts of raw diesel out the tailpipe, all while cold. Cylinder #1 was clearly the culprit verified by disconnecting injector lines.

The heads had a fresh valve job in October, along with pop testing and shimming injectors to 1900psi each, and weeding out all air intrusion.

Here's where it gets a little tricky. I ran the engine without valve covers to check everything out, and noticed there was notably little to no oil coming out of the pushrods on the passenger side, and that the cylinder #1 exhaust valve guide was blowing out a bit of smoke.

The exhaust valve guides have been just been replaced and valves re-seated (again). I'm wondering if my problem all along has been poor oiling of the passenger side head.

My question is, what could cause this? Clogged up lifters? The pushrods were clean inside.

Thanks in advance if you made it this far. The truck has been parked for months trying to figure this out.
 

IDIBRONCO

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Unfortunately, I feel that plugged lifters would be your best case scenario. That said, it seems pretty unlikely that only the ones on the passenger's side would be plugged. To me, it sounds like there's something that's, somehow, partially or mostly blocking off one of your oil galleys in the block. It may take some serious to almost complete disassembly of your engine to figure this out and remedy it.
If you have oil coming out of all of your push rods, then you may get lucky and be able to run a large percentage (compared to your oil) of a high detergent additive such as Engine RX (I think) or ATF. I say it like that because, with little oil getting to your rockers, you probably don't want to run the engine for along period of time for a regular dosage, such as a quart, to work. You would want fast action in this case. That may possibly work if it's some type of sludge that's causing the blockage. The only other thing that I can think of would be to pull the engine out and physically clean out all of the oil galleys by pushing something through them like a barrel brush for a gun.
I'm not saying that the additive trick would work. I actually have doubts about that, but it may be worth the risk if you wanted to try it. If you do, I hope that I'm wrong and it works almost immediately.
If it's a fairly recent rebuild/reman on the engine, I can think of another possibility. It's related to the partially blocked oil galley theory. The difference is that I was thinking of something solid that somehow got into an oil galley and this has to do with a mistake made during the rebuild. It's actually two possibilities now that I'm writing this. One is that one of the galley plugs that are above and to each side of the front of the camshaft could have partially worked it's way back out of the galley and is almost ready to fall out. That could cause a loss of oil flow to the passenger's side which, if I recall correctly, is the last part of the engine to get oil from the oil pump. Honestly, I can't see why it would still be sticking inside the oil galley if that was the case, but you never know. The other possibility here has to do with what we did in the shop I used to work for, I still do to my engines and, Wes from Classic Diesel Designs said that he does now that I told him about it. We didn't/don't reuse the factory pressed in plugs. Instead, we tap those galleys out to 1/4" NPT and install pipe plugs. The biggest thing is that you can't go very many threads deep inside the end of those galleys. If you do, then one of the plugs will block off the oil flow which would lead to the passenger's side. I hope this disheartening mini novel helps some.
 

Sinsectan

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Wow, thanks for that write up. Lots of good info in there. I've been planning to run a quart of diesel in the oil when I next fire up, but you've got me wondering about cleaning the galleys. I haven't had a chance to look at the engine since starting the thread, but I wonder if I could coil up some copper wire and run it into the passenger side galley through the lifter oil ports and even the pressure sender port. Might be able to unblock something. I'm thinking since I haven't been experiencing issues with the mains (that I know of), nor low oil pressure (that the dummy gauge showed me anyways) that the blockage could be after the sending unit and before the back lifter... Who knows at this point

The previous owner was clearly too liberal with the RTV, so much that there was a piece of RTV stuck in one of the coolant holes in the head gasket. Makes me wonder if the oil ports could have seen the same thing.

Worst case is this could be a cracked block, or bad oil pump, or a really deep blockage that's blocking oil to the mains too. We could talk possibilities all day without me tearing into it.
But what's most strange is the fact that it seemed to largely go away after a few minutes, almost like it suddenly got oil pressure.

Where is the galley plug you're talking about? I might make something happen with that.

Here's a video from a month ago when it was together: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1wRNjhTWtP1reyKMuY8sAbPvSYe7ogG7o/view?usp=drivesdk
 

IDIBRONCO

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If you have oil coming out of all of your push rods, then you may get lucky and be able to run a large percentage (compared to your oil) of a high detergent additive such as Engine RX (I think) or ATF. I say it like that because, with little oil getting to your rockers, you probably don't want to run the engine for along period of time for a regular dosage, such as a quart, to work. You would want fast action in this case. That may possibly work if it's some type of sludge that's causing the blockage. The only other thing that I can think of would be to pull the engine out and physically clean out all of the oil galleys by pushing something through them like a barrel brush for a gun.
I'm not saying that the additive trick would work. I actually have doubts about that, but it may be worth the risk if you wanted to try it. If you do, I hope that I'm wrong and it works almost immediately.
Somewhere in this paragraph, I forgot to mention that if you truly feel that it's your lifters, you can pull them out, take them apart, clean them, and put them back in. If you do that, I would recommend doing that to all 16 instead of just 8. You're already there so why not? Or you could replace them, but I'm not trying to get you to spend money on something that may not work. Naturally you'll have to remove your IP, intake, and valley pan in order to take your lifters out.
The previous owner was clearly too liberal with the RTV, so much that there was a piece of RTV stuck in one of the coolant holes in the head gasket. Makes me wonder if the oil ports could have seen the same thing.
That could be possible. I've seen some oil coolers that were pretty plugged with RTV. Those long strings had already made it through the oil pump by that point, so I can see where one may be able to go farther than that. I've even seen RTV plugging piston cooling jets before.
Worst case is this could be a cracked block, or bad oil pump, or a really deep blockage that's blocking oil to the mains too.
I doubt that it's a cracked block, but anything's possible.
Where is the galley plug you're talking about? I might make something happen with that.
There's two. You have to remove the front engine cover that's behind the water pump. Then you'll see the timing gears. The cam gear is the middle one. Look through that gear at where the cam comes out of the block. Above and to each side of the cam is a plug. Those go into the front end of the oil galleys that lead to the lifters.
I'm throwing all of this out to suggest things other than pulling the engine which is a bigger project. Just be aware that everything that I've written may be wrong and it's something else. I can't think of what it might be though. If you go deep enough to start cleaning the oil galleys, then I would suggest the you look at at least two main bearings and rod bearings while you're that deep. That way you know. All you'll have to do is remove the main and rod caps. That will give you a good enough idea.
 

Sinsectan

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Somewhere in this paragraph, I forgot to mention that if you truly feel that it's your lifters, you can pull them out, take them apart, clean them, and put them back in. If you do that, I would recommend doing that to all 16 instead of just 8. You're already there so why not? Or you could replace them, but I'm not trying to get you to spend money on something that may not work
I was thinking that last night. I'll start with the passenger/rear lifter, work forward. I have a full new set on deck regardless, since I thought this might be been a lifter issue earlier on. Judging by the way the lifters are designed, with the step down in the diameter where it rides in the lifter bore, if a lifter gets clogged oil should be able to bypass the lifter and run to the next. So I'm about doubtful that it will be the cause.

By chance do you know of a point in the oil galleys I could pump oil through to see if it comes out the passenger side? Might be nice to find a clog

Either way, I've got some distant attempts of clean oil ports to come. Makes me hesitant to put it all back together. Unfortunately I don't have the space to pull the engine and this is about to become my only vehicle, so if I can't pick something out of the galleys ot fix it with cleaners in the oil, then I'll have to get rid of it.
 

Black dawg

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I was thinking that last night. I'll start with the passenger/rear lifter, work forward. I have a full new set on deck regardless, since I thought this might be been a lifter issue earlier on. Judging by the way the lifters are designed, with the step down in the diameter where it rides in the lifter bore, if a lifter gets clogged oil should be able to bypass the lifter and run to the next. So I'm about doubtful that it will be the cause.

By chance do you know of a point in the oil galleys I could pump oil through to see if it comes out the passenger side? Might be nice to find a clog

Either way, I've got some distant attempts of clean oil ports to come. Makes me hesitant to put it all back together. Unfortunately I don't have the space to pull the engine and this is about to become my only vehicle, so if I can't pick something out of the galleys ot fix it with cleaners in the oil, then I'll have to get rid of it.
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Sinsectan

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Thanks for sharing that. It's may be obvious that I was getting all of my misfire issues at the front passenger exhaust lifter, ie the first one to receive oil. Maybe it was clogged up, and caused the rest of the lifters to not get oil

The dummy oil pressure gauge was reading fine, so this proves I can't trust it at all. It should been reading no oil pressure in theory...
 

Sinsectan

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Good call.

If I could tee into the oil filter housing, technically I could bypass the blockage by running a hose from the oil filter housing to the pressure sender port. I'd tee the pressure sender into that line. Of course I'd run AN fittings with PTFE lines
 

Black dawg

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Are the lifters on that bank making noise?

I am betting this isnt a blockage type deal, but a leak that is bleeding off pressure, and just shows up more on that galley. I think I would have a gauge in the op sender spot, and at the spot on the left of the block at the same time.
 

Sinsectan

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There's a tick/knock on that side, sounds to be coming from the top end. It's part of what led me into the lifters to begin with.

I'll double check my filter head connections tonight. What am I looking for? I'm guessing there's an O-Ring seal at the filter head, and oil cooler? I'd like to properly check the oil pressure at that side, but I probably won't be starting it up until I have some sort of plan. I don't want to wreck another round of machine work.

Worst case, I'll run a high pressure oil line directly to the passenger side, with an inline needle valve to let me restrict the flow as needed so I don't pull too much oil away from the bottom end.
 

Nero

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17psi is normal at idle when warm, what pressure are you seeing when hot and cold?
 

Sinsectan

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The heads are still off so I don't know, but the dummy gauge read fine. I'll be putting a real pressure gauge on it once it's running
 

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