My May of 1911 Touring has enclosed valves, in preparation of replacing the valves I decided to take a valve cover off to take a look at what I'm getting into.
Immediately after pulling back the cover a cup or two of oil came out of the gallery. After cleaning up the oil I noticed that there is no drain back hole in the gallery. Is this normal for early blocks? If so should I drill a small hole to provide drain back?
Yes, it is normal, and yes, you should!
My '14 used to smoke like a chimney when I took off after sitting at a light. I assumed the engine was tired and needed to be rebuilt. When I took off the valve covers to adjust the valves there was oil puddled everywhere. After I cleaned it out I saw there were no holes to drain the oil out. Two holes and no more smoke.
I don't know when started the drain holes, but neither of my '13s have had them.
Where do you drill the drain hole?
Bill: You can see the small drain holes in this 1926 block:
(Picture by Lorenzo Leon from another thread)
But won't drilling small holes in the block drop metal shavings into the engine?
Sure will, I would remove the inspection pan under the rods and stuff a greased rag between the cam and the block in both positions to collect as much as possible from the drilling, then clean up afterwards.
How do you suppose it made it through its first 106 years without those holes?
Three packs a day?
Even on my 26, I drilled more drain back holes, not just for drain back but also for better lube. The oil never gets changed in the areas that don't drain back. If you look at the block you will see the ones that don't drain. It is a great idea to drill the drain back holes. One more thing I did to my 26 was to seal the throttle linkage hole through the block by fitting a copper pipe between the block and valve cover. This will keep the dirt out.