Author Topic: 1987 Silverado V10 from the frozen north  (Read 3630 times)

Offline nbarr7

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1987 Silverado V10 from the frozen north
« on: November 22, 2021, 01:07:04 PM »
Greetings all.
A brief backstory, if I may. I didn't grow up working on engines. My family and my proclivities at the time let me in other directions and helped me gain expertise in other areas. Fast forward to my middle years here, and I'm finding engine work terribly interesting, and yet I realize I'm working from a deficit of understanding and experience. To begin addressing this lack, I started out repairing some jet skis since they're so simple relatively speaking - things like replacing burned down pistons, rings, starters, rebuilding carbs, gaskets etc. It seems like all mechanic roads lead to vehicles for the road, so of course, eventually I followed the momentum of this interest and found a 1987 Chevrolet Silverado (tbi) 4x4 V10 with a 305/auto here in Minnesota that had been sitting for a few years (last oil change sticker was 2016) that was not running at the time due to a fuel delivery issue. "Ok great," I thought "I can figure that out." Well, I ended up just putting essentially a new fuel system in the right side (has dual tanks) so the RH side has a new tank, new pump, new in-tank sock, new sending unit, new soft lines from there to the selector valve, new in-line filter, and I cleaned out the hard lines and the tbi throttle body. So far so good. Here's a video of how it went once I got all that done and added 4-5 gallons (please note the truck has both manifolds both running into a single glass pack, then splitting to those tiny pipes under the bumper - so it will sound consistent with that)
https://youtu.be/xOM2q9UARco

One of the other fun elements is that the previous owner - for whatever reason - completely disassembled the dash. I haven't looked into the electrical side yet, but I've done some other electrical work so I think I can figure some of it out when the time comes, but I did find the main plug on the back of the gauge cluster was unplugged. Plugged it back in, and to my dismay my oil pressure gauge is either broken, the sending unit is broken, or I don't have oil pressure. I don't hear a lot of valve train noise, but I still am not really driving it anywhere yet until I get an oil pressure tester (on order). Just a couple comments/pseudo questions:

Any advise regarding the possibility of no oil pressure? Getting a testing kit all I need to do to trouble shoot? Also, you can see it does start to smoke a bit a little bit after startup (around the time I go around the big boat in the video). It doesn't smell like coolant to me, but I do have coolant leaving the system somewhere (I'll probably have to get a pressure tester for that too). I did a spot check of cylinder compression to see if the engine was worn out and burning oil because of worn out rings, but I got 140psi. I know I need to check them all, but if I have one or two with good pressure, it should mean the entire motor isn't just worn out I'd think... Mileage on the odo is something like 80k, but of course I'm not sure this is the original dash cluster (it came with a spare for example) and not sure if that's 180 (likely).

I should say that the old oil is full, but dark. I'm planning on changing it but didn't think that would make the difference for the gauge showing literally zero.

End goal is not a show truck, or anything, but I'd like it to be mechanically sound as a warmer weather daily driver type (I'll be getting some body panels eventually if I can get the mechanicals nailed down) Basically, just looking for a community to help me make sure I don't blow anything up or go about this the totally wrong way. Thank you all for your help in encouraging my mid-life personal interest redirect.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2021, 01:50:06 PM by nbarr7 »
1987 Silverado V10 Fleetside

Offline Mike81K10

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Re: 1987 Silverado V10 from the frozen north
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2021, 02:53:26 PM »
Not a bad looking truck!
I can try to answer a few questions and there are a few others on this forum that are really good.
1) Oil pressure: Ensure your oil pressure sender just above the oil filter is connected (2 Wire connector). Then ensure your oil pressure switch on the top rear (by firewall that has a single wire connector) is hooked up. I would recommend changing the oil first thing, if not done since you bought the truck.

When the oil pressure sensor goes bad you normally get inaccurate readings. When readings fall out of designed specs, a warning light is set.
The oil pressure switch either works or not and if not you could have a bad oil pump. On the other hand check your oil level and if your engine is running quietly, you could have a bad oil pressure sending unit, light switch, or oil pressure gauge.

2) Coolant  leaving your system: Should be easy to detect because being up north you should have anti-freeze and should be easy to see since it is colored. Only two places the coolant is leaking internal or external. Internal, you will see your oil level increase as it mixes with the oil. External: it will most likely come from the radiator, a coolant hose, a freeze plug rusted out, thermastat housing, or maybe your over fill reservoir.

My Conclusion: If your engine runs quietly, smooth, your oil pressure sender is probably bad. You need to find the coolant leak ASAP.

Offline Mike81K10

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Re: 1987 Silverado V10 from the frozen north
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2021, 02:56:53 PM »
One more thing, it could simply be a burned out bulb if you have lights instead of gauges.

Offline nbarr7

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Re: 1987 Silverado V10 from the frozen north
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2021, 03:09:39 PM »
Thanks, I do have a gauge, not a light. At least, I don't have any warning lights coming on, but the gauge hovers just above zero. I checked the 2 prong wire by the filter, and though it doesn't look to be seated well, it's there. And the one by the distributor is hooked up as well.

I do have bright green coolant/antifreeze yep. Being it's outside on a gravel driveway it's a little harder to see, but I don't know I see a lot of leaks. That said, I haven't really run it yet....
1987 Silverado V10 Fleetside

Offline wz7u

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Re: 1987 Silverado V10 from the frozen north
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2021, 03:26:44 PM »
Maybe hooking up a mechanical gauge is a next step. I would want confirmation of good oil pressure before I made any firm decisions.
'79 C20 454/th400 "Pearl"

Offline JohnnyPopper

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Re: 1987 Silverado V10 from the frozen north
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2021, 03:44:51 PM »
She wouldn't make it down the road for long with no oil pressure, and she would be clacking quite loud .

Nice truck, congrats on how far you've taken her.

Let us know what you find out  8)
1957 Apache 3100 235 Inline 6, 3 on the tree
1973 C-20, 3+3 454 4BBL TH400  Water Injection
1978 K-10, 350 4BBL TH350 NP203 M.M. Part time Kit/Hubs
1980 C-10 under construction

Offline Shifty

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Re: 1987 Silverado V10 from the frozen north
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2021, 08:26:48 AM »
Though not as simple as a test gauge, you could also pop a valve cover to see if oil is making it to the rockers.
87 V20 Standard Cab Longbed (current)

87 R30 3+3 Longbed (days of yore)

98 C2500 ext cab longbed

Offline RossVE

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Re: 1987 Silverado V10 from the frozen north
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2021, 11:23:33 AM »
Not bad at all for this part of the country! Welcome from SE MN.

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Offline Mike81K10

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Re: 1987 Silverado V10 from the frozen north
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2021, 02:29:31 PM »
Shifty's suggestion would be is good and removing the valve cover is a very easy way to see how well your oil pump is working.

Offline wz7u

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Re: 1987 Silverado V10 from the frozen north
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2021, 04:48:21 PM »
Popping the valve cover will also tell if the oil has been changed regularly   :o
'79 C20 454/th400 "Pearl"

Offline JohnnyPopper

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Re: 1987 Silverado V10 from the frozen north
« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2021, 07:01:02 PM »
If you run it with the cover off, make sure you have the valve adjustment clips on the rockers, they've been known to squirt oil all over the place.

Having said that, guys, we all know it would sound really bad if there were no pressure so I don't know why we are going down this rabbit hole.

At least he will be able to see if it was maintained or abused.

Maintained=clean components under the cover.
Abused=cruddy crap sticking to the components.
1957 Apache 3100 235 Inline 6, 3 on the tree
1973 C-20, 3+3 454 4BBL TH400  Water Injection
1978 K-10, 350 4BBL TH350 NP203 M.M. Part time Kit/Hubs
1980 C-10 under construction

Offline Mike81K10

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Re: 1987 Silverado V10 from the frozen north
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2021, 08:51:42 PM »
Have to admit, those clips can help prevent a mess if you have good oil pressure. Could be a wire problems as well if your wiring is a mess nbarr7. Believe you said the gauge cluster was disconnected and you had to hook the connector up. Did you find the coolant leak yet?

Online bd

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Re: 1987 Silverado V10 from the frozen north
« Reply #12 on: November 24, 2021, 09:09:17 AM »
Until you put a number on it, it amounts to assumption and unverified opinion(s).  Avoid the pitfall of basing your diagnoses on a house of cards, especially for something as fundamental and crucial as oil pressure.  Check the oil pressure using a proper test gauge, as you originally intended, so that you have a "known" baseline. 
Rich
It's difficult to know just how much you don't know until you know it.
In other words... if people learn by making mistakes, by now I should know just about everything!!!
87 R10 Silverado Fleetside 355 MPFI 700R4 3.42 Locker (aka Rusty, aka Mater)

Offline JohnnyPopper

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Re: 1987 Silverado V10 from the frozen north
« Reply #13 on: November 24, 2021, 01:07:36 PM »
I called it a rabbit hole for a reason.  ::)
1957 Apache 3100 235 Inline 6, 3 on the tree
1973 C-20, 3+3 454 4BBL TH400  Water Injection
1978 K-10, 350 4BBL TH350 NP203 M.M. Part time Kit/Hubs
1980 C-10 under construction

Offline nbarr7

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Re: 1987 Silverado V10 from the frozen north
« Reply #14 on: November 26, 2021, 07:39:00 PM »
I have an oil pressure test kit on order - hopefully it will arrive next week, though with the way shipping has gone lately, it may be later than that. I will test as soon as is feasible, and in the meantime I'm not driving it - just starting it every so often, and shifting it slightly to not flat spot the tires.
1987 Silverado V10 Fleetside