Video: Firing up the Valiant ute!

Scotty fires up the 318 in this episode of Carnage, but things don’t quite go to plan.....

Photographers: Matt Hull
Videographers: Matt Hull

Don’t worry, this time Scotty really does bring the VE Valiant to life and we finally get to hear that freshly rebuilt 318 sing!

It all started off really well. Scotty got the 318 small-block up and going with only a few minor adjustments, and because it’s using a brand-new flat-tappet stick, he had to run the car for a good 15-20min at around 2000rpm to bed in the camshaft.

But just when everything was looking perfect, things took a nasty turn. Scotty stuck his head inside the cockpit for literally two seconds, which was just enough time to watch the oil pressure gauge go straight down to a big fat zero.

Because he caught it immediately, the engine was shut down straight away and luckily no damage was incurred. But the question now was, why?

Initial thoughts pointed towards the oil pump drive, which can be prone to failure. Scotty quickly whipped the dizzy out and determined that wasn’t the issue, so more head-scratching was needed.

After asking some fellow Mopar tragics for advice, it appeared a missing bung may be the cause of the drama. These 318s have a port inside the distributor chamber that goes to the lifter gallery, and if you don’t block that off, all the oil will get fed straight into said gallery and not to the rest of the engine.

Sure enough, the suspect bung was missing. Putting one in meant removing the entire intake manifold, but it was still a hell of a lot better than a broken oil pump or lost engine.

With the mill all back together, Scotty fired it up again – success! Oil pressure for days, and the Mopar was purring away beautifully.

The next stage with the old Val is to head to the dyno to dial-in the tuning. Before that can happen though, Scotty still needs to hook up the throttle linkages, make the shifter work, finish installing the tailshaft, and a whole bunch of other niggly jobs. But it runs – booyah!