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  1. #1
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    Feb 2013
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    ATK Engine Problems

    Hello, been on this forum a lot just searching for information. First post looking for advice on my engine issues.


    I bought an HP55 long block 383 SBC direct from ATK 2 years and 1 month ago to put in my 67 Camaro that I use for street driving and 2-3 times a year autocross and HPDE (20-30 min session) track days at local road race courses. I went with ATK because they had a decent reputation on the forums, a 2 year warranty, and seemed to have good customer service (when I purchased/ speced it out.) I spent a lot of extra money on upgrades to the engine that were suggested by Brandon and Mark to hold up to the occasional track days. Road race oil pan, upgraded valves, lifters, spring, retainers, etc. The engine arrived 3 months after I purchased it and lasted less than a week when a valve interfered and cracked the block/ bent a forged H beam rod. ATK honored their warranty and I shipped the engine back to them. After a 6 month turn around time I received a new block with with the original crank, and 7 of the 8 original rods, and all other parts were swapped over. I installed this warranty engine and proceeded to follow all break in instructions once again exactly how mark recommended. I mean followed them doing exactly what he said to do. after 6 months and 1 day at the track, the tips of the push rods wore through and wore into the rocker arms. They sent me out all new rocker arms and push rods, and I cleaned everything out as best as I can. I drove the car another 6 months or so before going to the track again, and this time it ate a rod bearing. The engine is back out of the car, and ATK states that since I am one month out of warranty (which starts at the purchase date) I am out of luck. Despite the fact that this engine has spent 9 months of the warranty in ATK's possession, and has a history of issues, they are leaving me out to dry. Rant over...


    Real question, why did this happen, and how can I prevent it when I install the next engine? Seems to me like an oiling issue. I have a morroso trap door baffled road race pan, ATK speced the pump with the pressure/ volume that Mark wanted. I watch the pressure on the track as often as I can and have never seen a drop in pressure. I have a remote oil filter with earls oil cooler and 10an lines that was all new. Oil stays at 240 degrees at the track with the oil cooler, and the coolant never goes above 195. Brandon and Mark had part numbers and hose lengths for my oil setup. I have an air fuel gauge that shows my carb is tuned damn near perfect everywhere. ATK warranty guy Eric suggested that I pre detonated the engine causing these issues. I have a brand new MSD pro billet distributor set to 34 degrees total which is where they put the sharpie mark when they ran it on the dyno. I have a crane cams ignition box with the rev limiter set to 6100 RPM. I use 10-30 mobile 1 after all the break in oil that mark suggested and am crazy with oil changes and adjusting/ checking the valves. Let me know what you guys think, and if you have any ideas on what to do. THanks for any input.

  2. #2
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    I would run 5w40 in that engine myself.

    What kind of cam ?

    Iím at a loss. Shouldnít happen. Itís hard to mess up a SBC oiling system.
    1971 Camaro - 406 / T56
    2016 Camaro SS convertible
    2018 Colorado 4x4

  3. #3
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    Ready for an LS swap?

    Sounds like an oiling issued. I don’t see pushrods wearing through rocker arms.
    1970 Camaro/DSE build


    Are you driver enough? Maybe....come on blue!
    https://www.pro-touring.com/threads/...71#post1147371

  4. #4
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    ya something is strange there for sure. Normally you want to limit the oil flow to the top end of the engine to keep it lower for lubricating the bearings and cam and such, and roller rockers don't need much oil anyway. Some builders restrict the oil passages, others rely on the pushrods to restrict the flow - since we have none of that info it's really hard to determine what went wrong here. Have you torn down the engine to see what was done - are there oil restricters in the passages in the lifter area? What volume and capacity oil pump was used? I tend to be old school when it comes to this stuff - I still follow the advice of builders like Smokey Yunick and his Power Secrets for SBC book from the 70's updated in 1989 remains my go-to resource for building a SBC that will last. Of course leveraging the latest best parts and all that. I just re-read his section on lubrication and he is saying really no mods are needed to the oiling system in a SBC and he built engines running endurance road racing and oval track events back in the day so that is a lot more stress on an engine than what you have been doing.

    I'm at a loss. Not enough info.
    1971 Camaro - 406 / T56
    2016 Camaro SS convertible
    2018 Colorado 4x4

  5. #5
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    Maybe take a look at their Google reviews. Havenít seen anything that bad before.

    Find a better builder....

    Don
    1969 Camaro - LSA 6L90E AME sub/IRS
    1957 Buick Caballero - huge project
    1959 El Camino - Ironworks frame
    1969 Mustang Sportsroof
    1956 Cameo - full C5 suspension/drivetrain

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by c4racer2 View Post
    ya something is strange there for sure. Normally you want to limit the oil flow to the top end of the engine to keep it lower for lubricating the bearings and cam and such, and roller rockers don't need much oil anyway. Some builders restrict the oil passages, others rely on the pushrods to restrict the flow - since we have none of that info it's really hard to determine what went wrong here. Have you torn down the engine to see what was done - are there oil restricters in the passages in the lifter area? What volume and capacity oil pump was used? I tend to be old school when it comes to this stuff - I still follow the advice of builders like Smokey Yunick and his Power Secrets for SBC book from the 70's updated in 1989 remains my go-to resource for building a SBC that will last. Of course leveraging the latest best parts and all that. I just re-read his section on lubrication and he is saying really no mods are needed to the oiling system in a SBC and he built engines running endurance road racing and oval track events back in the day so that is a lot more stress on an engine than what you have been doing.

    I'm at a loss. Not enough info.

    Although I run the engine hard I advised them exactly what I intended to do with it and did every suggestion they made to make it handle the use. They assured it will be able to handle the short sessions on the track.

    I have been doing a lot of reading about restrictions as well and to my knowledge I have none. I have a Moroso road race pan with trap door baffles, remote oil filter and earls cooler with about 8 feet of 10an line that they were all aware of when they built it. Never gets above 240 temp oil. After reading about oil restrictions I feel that may be an issue, and something that I need. I also have been reading a David Vizard book that lines out modifications to smooth oil passages to help return oil to the pan. ATK made their own ďmodificationsĒ the to oil pump and it is a high volume oil pump. They cut down the relief spring to get the desired pressure, and compensate for the extra line and friction loss. I feel strongly that over the course of a few laps the high volume pump slowly works all the oil to the top of the engine and starves the pump due to the oil not returning quick enough and sucking the pan dry. Another bit of evidence to this is that I randomly sprung an oil leak out of the valve covers that began to pool on the top of the intake manifold. Never had a leak before.

    The carnage is three spun main bearings, and a 4 bolt main cap that cracked into two pieces. The rear most main bearing looks the worst, and the rod bearings are shot but probably collateral damage. Scored up the block a bit on a few.

    let me know what you guys think, or if I am barking up the wrong tree with the oiling being the problem. The warranty guy tried to make me feel foolish when I suggested an oiling issue but I suppose thatís his job...

    thanks for the replyís
    -Brian

  7. #7
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    You should probably be running an Accumsump if you are tracking the car.

    https://www.dragzine.com/news/canton...-does-it-work/

    Don
    1969 Camaro - LSA 6L90E AME sub/IRS
    1957 Buick Caballero - huge project
    1959 El Camino - Ironworks frame
    1969 Mustang Sportsroof
    1956 Cameo - full C5 suspension/drivetrain

  8. #8
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    May 2018
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    way east on a rock
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    If I bought an engine from a well regarded shop and specified what I was doing with the car, I would expect the engine builder to spec it accordingly. I don't expect to see ATK to come on here to tell their side of it, and there really isn't enough information to draw a conclusion, but if I was the customer, I would be some pissed off.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by dhutton View Post
    You should probably be running an Accumsump if you are tracking the car.

    https://www.dragzine.com/news/canton...-does-it-work/

    Don
    Yes I definitely agree with you and didnít run one before because I thought with my road race trap door baffled pan, large volume, and cooler I would be ok. I have a friend who conveniently has a spare accusump that he took off another car that he is giving me and I will for sure be running one for piece of mind. Also will most likely wire up a dummy light for oil pressure as you can always watch the gauges. I think thatís a good fix but also think this should not have happened as quickley as it did with an engine that was supposedly built to handle it. Now just looking for ideas on what could cause bearing failure under road race conditions that I havenít already addressed. Thanks for your time guys keep em coming if you have ideas.

  10. #10
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  11. #11
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    I think you are spot on in the bottom end is getting starved - too much oil on top end.

    Of course that doesnít explain the pushrod failure does it?

    But 3 bearings and that cap cracking plus you can see discoloration that looks like was caused by heat to me. Seems oil not returning to the pan.

    And accusump ya ok fine but Iíve run sbc without them very hard track use in C4 and gen 3 camaros on race tires - two of them full on race cars - without such things and never had an oil problem. The Camaro has a stock pan too. On the C4 I ran a Canton pan and pickup and ran 315s square on that car.
    Iím all for giving yourself margin. But this really should not happen.

    Speaking of which did you verify pickup position in the pan ?
    1971 Camaro - 406 / T56
    2016 Camaro SS convertible
    2018 Colorado 4x4

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by c4racer2 View Post
    I think you are spot on in the bottom end is getting starved - too much oil on top end.

    Of course that doesnít explain the pushrod failure does it?

    But 3 bearings and that cap cracking plus you can see discoloration that looks like was caused by heat to me. Seems oil not returning to the pan.

    And accusump ya ok fine but Iíve run sbc without them very hard track use in C4 and gen 3 camaros on race tires - two of them full on race cars - without such things and never had an oil problem. The Camaro has a stock pan too. On the C4 I ran a Canton pan and pickup and ran 315s square on that car.
    Iím all for giving yourself margin. But this really should not happen.

    Speaking of which did you verify pickup position in the pan ?

    Ya I agree on the accusump. Good protection but i initially didnít think I needed it with my setup. Kinda chasing my tail now and will just have to see what the machine shop/ engine builder says. Either way I feel that the engine was not setup for HPDE track days, and canít help but point at the pump.

    do you have any modifications to your block? Restrictions, smoothing oil galleys, etc?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by BDM View Post
    Ya I agree on the accusump. Good protection but i initially didnít think I needed it with my setup. Kinda chasing my tail now and will just have to see what the machine shop/ engine builder says. Either way I feel that the engine was not setup for HPDE track days, and canít help but point at the pump.

    do you have any modifications to your block? Restrictions, smoothing oil galleys, etc?
    Probably. I have the block still. I can take a look !
    1971 Camaro - 406 / T56
    2016 Camaro SS convertible
    2018 Colorado 4x4

  14. #14
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    have you checked that your oil filter is not collapsing?

    https://www.pro-touringf-body.com "doing what they say can't be done"