View Full Version : 59 352 Oil Pump Screen

10-19-2013, 09:31 AM
I have a 1959 Bird with the 352 engine. I'm replacing the oil pan and noticed the pick up tube and screen were dirty so decided to clean them. Holding the assembly upside down, I expected to be able to pour oil into the screen and have it flow through the tube and out the bottom, but it did not. So, I clean it with marvel mystery oil and then seafoam along with some compressed air. Even with the less thick seafoam it does not travel freely when pour into screen. I have to shake the tube and screen and eventually some comes out the bottom. If I apply suction to the end of the tube, all the fluid comes out. Alternatively, if turn the assembly right side up (as it is mounted on oil pump) with the screen pointed down and pour seafoam into the pickup tube, it flows freely out of the screen.
My question is whether this is normal, or I have some kind of blockage in the screen or pickup tube? (I've also tried to hold a light to the opening at end of pickup tube and expected it to shine out of the screen, but it does not)
Thanks for any advice.

10-19-2013, 03:32 PM
...I expected to be able to pour oil into the screen and have it flow through the tube and out the bottom...Tom, that is how it worked when the engine was new.

These engines were produced at a time when non-detergent oil was the 'standard' oil used by all garages. We have extensive posts about clogged pickup screens and dirty oil tubes that have destroyed Thunderbird engines. One example happened to Alexander, who founded this site. CLICK HERE (http://squarebirds.org/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=8313) to see JohnG's posts (read it through).

I suggest you use a stronger grease cutter and maybe a flexible wire, like an old speedometer cable, to help dislodge the sediment.

Your rocker arm shafts may be clogged as well. For the cost of two rocker cover gaskets and two cotter pins, you can clean them as well. CLICK HERE (http://www.squarebirds.org/penelope/390Build/RockerShafts.htm) to see how I did Penelope's.

Problems didn't show up for many years. When we switched to detergent oil, many engines digested huge chunks of junk that broke free. This is all over the net and it affected every brand of engine.

Certainly, clean the bottom of your oil pan and pickup screen, then pull your rocker covers. I normally stuff rags into the 'oil return slots' when cleaning the valve spring areas. With fresh oil in the pan, I would pull one side at a time, start the engine and let it run for ten seconds and notice which rocker arms are starved for oil. You need to clean the shaft and the rocker arm holes.

Cold oil cannot be 100% filtered because it is too viscous so it gets bypassed by the filter's relief valve. Hot oil conveys dirt. When we shut the engine off for the night, that dirt settles and cools. This happens thousands of times. Eventually, the dirt 'cements' itself in place with varnish and blocks oil flow.

Use popular name-brand oil but add ZDDP (available at most auto parts stores) for your flat tappets. All modern oil has detergent which will keep your engine clean.

I hope this helps. - Dave

10-19-2013, 06:44 PM
If your pickup screen is dirty imagine what your oil pump looks like. Since you have the pan off it's probably a good idea to replace the pump and pump push rod.


10-20-2013, 07:13 PM
Thanks Dave and John. I appreciate the information. The rest of the engine is clean as it was rebuilt a while back and has been setting waiting for the rest of the restoration to be completed. It also has a new oil pump. The pan was damaged by someone while restoration was taking place and was leaking a little, so I did not want to take any chances. I checked the post you linked to and my screen was nothing like that. It was cleaned with the rebuild, but I thought it was still too dirty. I spoke with some I know who knows Fords and he said what I was describing (with the flow of seafoam) was the way the pump should work. Is that what you meant Dave, when you said that's how it worked when the engine was new?

10-20-2013, 07:40 PM
Tom, you gave no indication this engine was rebuilt. This is what you said:
...I expected to be able to pour oil into the screen and have it flow through the tube and out the bottom...This leads me to believe the pickup is detached from the pump so I replied with, "that is how it worked when the engine was new."

If the engine was rebuilt, how on earth could the pickup screen be dirty and how could the pickup tube be clogged with anything?

The only other explanation for restricted flow in the tube would be a kink from physical damage.

I still say, when the pickup tube was new it flowed very freely. How far from the bottom of the pan will you set the screen? - Dave