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William, Auto Technician
Category: Chevy
Satisfied Customers: 284
Experience:  7 ASE Certifications, Undercar Specialist, 20+ years exp.
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I have a chevy 350 that started smoking (white smoke ) and ...

Customer Question

I have a chevy 350 that started smoking (white smoke ) and I thought it was possibly a head gasket so I had the heads surfaced and replaced the head gasket etc. but once I got it back together it still smoked. I removed the valve cover on the passenger side and on #8 cylinder it looks as if one of the lifters may be bad. It feels "mushy" when I press down on the pushrod, how can you tell if a lifter is bad and can you replace just one?
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Chevy
Expert:  William replied 9 years ago.
You can replace just one lifter, the problem is they aren't usually sold that way. A bad lifter will not "pump up" either all the way, or at all. It sounds like you may have a bad one. Remember that you should submerge any new lifters in oil for about 24 hours before installing into the vehicle. The only trouble with the lifter situation is that it won't cause white smoke to be produced by the engine. When you got the heads resurfaced, did they magnaflux them to check for cracks?
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to William's Post: I did not have them magnaflux them, the guy that did the surfacing visually inspected them and did not find anything, I realize that is not real acurate, the same cylinder (#8) that seems to have the bad lifter also had some antifreeze in the cylinder when I originally took off the head.

I realize that replacing all the lifters would probably be the best idea,

What do you recommend? The local AutoZone sells individual lifters, would it be worth having the head looked at again since there is the smoke?
Expert:  William replied 9 years ago.
Sometimes you can't go by what you find in the cylinder when you take the heads off, especially when it comes to cylinders 7 and 8. When you drain the coolant out, a lot of times a little coolant stays behind in the heads since the engine is usually tilted back a few degrees. I'm not saying to totally dismiss it, just saying there is another logical explanation for it. A lot of times a crack in a cylinder head can be virtually invisible to the naked eye, that is why the magnaflux process came to be. What type of vehicle is this motor in and is it EFI or carb?
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to William's Post: It is actually a 383 Stroker dropped in an S10 pickup, I did not build the engine so can only speculate, it is a carb, I was not worried about the antifreeze in 8 because of the tilt of the engine.
Expert:  William replied 9 years ago.

Since you did the resurfacing and new gaskets, and it didn't solve the problem, I'd definately recommend having both heads checked for cracks. It could also be cracked in the intake or exhaust ports (especially if a porting job was done), so make sure they check there as well. Nice ride by the way. I hope I've helped, and feel free to contact me if they don't find any cracks, so we can persue other possibilities. Good Luck.