Labor Day Weekend, 1999

Well, if you scroll further down, you can see the results of our Labor Day weekend.  We started the weekend fine on Saturday, but weren't going long before we lost oil pressure.  Jason and I let ourselves believe that it was just the gauge since the motor wasn't knocking.  We should have known better though, because it didn't take long for it to start.

We ran into town and picked up a new oil pressure gauge, but our problem wasn't the gauge.  With no other choice, we dropped the oil pan and discovered a large mass of solidified mud that had been sucked up into the oil pump pickup, and the lack of oil pressure had fried a couple of rod bearings.  They weren't quite bad enough yet to spell immediate danger, but they had to be dealt with.  Unfortunately for us, none of the parts stores in town had the .020 under bearings that we needed.  We ran it a couple of times later on that weekend with the loose rods, but the problems pretty much spelled the end of our weekend.

After Labor Day, we knew that we needed to pull the motor apart.  When Jason did, we were surprised to find a lot more damage that we had guessed.  If you take a look at these pic's, you can see what we mean.

As you can see, we managed to twist or bend most of the rods in the motor.  One of which is twisted nearly 90.  Though it's not impossible that I missed seeing that the rods were this messed up when I had the oil pan off on Labor Day, it seems hard to believe that I would have missed seeing rods this messed up.  Not to mention that we cleaned out the oil pan when we had it off, so from then to when we pulled the motor, the tailings that you can see on the lower right had accumulated.

Now assuming that we twisted these rods sometime between when we had the oil pan off, and when we pulled the motor, I can't for the life of me figure out how we managed to mangle them so badly.  I know that if you hydrolock a motor that you can do damage similar to this, but we hardly ran the motor since having the oil pan off, and we certainly didn't hydrolock the motor.  Otherwise, excessive heat could have done it as well, but if we had gotten them that hot, then the pistons should have been destroyed (after all, they are aluminum and the rods are steel).  Also, you would think that the rods would have shown some discoloration if they had gotten hot enough to cause this sort of deformation.

Now here is the kicker...   Despite all of this damage, the motor still ran fairly well (we drove it into the garage before we pulled the motor), and there was no damage to the block.  As you can see below (ok, you really can't see it very well), the bore that had the worst rod in it was in nearly perfect condition.  All it had was a few nicks, which we actually expected to see more of considering the conditions we run the motor in.

Soooo, if you think that you know (I mean really know!) how we did this, please feel free to send me your opinion at

The rest of these shots show some of the other vehicles at the Labor Day event.  Many of these guys you will recognize from our other photo albums.

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