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  #16 (permalink)  
Old 08-09-2008, 06:36 PM
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Yes, a lot points towards coolant, a lot points toward oil. Before I take it apart, I have an idea. I'm going to start it up and pour a little coolant down the carb (on the good side) and see what the effect is. Then I'll try a little of the oil and see what effect that has.

The problem with merely tearing it apart, is that once I do that, and if I can't see anything obvious, it is impossible to do tests like the one above, or more compression or leak-down testing, etc.

Oh....I even checked the ignition and found the ignition wire to #1 was quite a bit more resistive than any of the others, but it will still jump a spark over 1/2 inch on my tester, so I've dismissed a weak ignition. So odd that it's fine until the temp starts to come up....hmmmm....

For something that will inevitably explained and considered "simple" it sure causing me a lot of thought provoking pain.....LOL.

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  #17 (permalink)  
Old 08-09-2008, 08:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Argess
Yes, a lot points towards coolant, a lot points toward oil. Before I take it apart, I have an idea. I'm going to start it up and pour a little coolant down the carb (on the good side) and see what the effect is. Then I'll try a little of the oil and see what effect that has.
That won't work. On a dual-plane manifold each side of the carb feeds 2 cylinders on each side. Follow the intake manifold runners and you will see what I mean. If you have a single-plane manifold, the plenum will allow the water or oil to mix with all of the cylinders to some degree.

tom
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Old 08-10-2008, 09:28 AM
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Well.....I'm hoping it will work. It's a divided plenum single plane manifold with twin Holleys on it. All carb barrels on the left, feed the left cylinders only, and all right barrels feed the right barrels only. But if not, I can always pull the plug wire on #1. Smoke stops that way.

I just wanted to try to verify what the smoke was by simulating a leak with coolant and then with oil. By description of the smoke, it's coolant, but by description of the plug, it's oil.

Hopefully I can try it today.
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  #19 (permalink)  
Old 08-10-2008, 10:47 AM
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If it is using coolant you will be able to find it with a pressurized cooling system tester. Also if it is smoking as bad as you say, the level should be dropping on the oil stick or the radiator. If you have somewhere that has an exhaust gas analyzer it will tell you right away. If it is oil it should push the HC reading up.

I would not recommend pouring coolant into the intake, it wont prove anything and you take a chance of causing more damage

Chet
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Old 08-10-2008, 04:31 PM
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Thanks Chet. It does look like the coolant is dropping slightly, but hard to tell. I hadn't checked it for quite a while, and when I topped it up, it of course drops a bit at first as these systems didn't use a 2-way rad cap and overflow bucket.

Oil level...it's a big block FE....I am meticulous when I rebuild engines, but I can never seem to stop an FE from leaking, so oil level always seems to be dropping. Plus, I use a 9 qt oil pan, so any changes in oil quantity take quite a while to be noticed as the level drops slowly.

Anyway, too late with the warning.....I did the test. No results I could use. I poured about an ounce of oil down the carb with the engine at about 1500 rpm.....no smoke at all from that. Then I tried an ounce of coolant (actual coolant I drew out...about 50:50 antifreeze and water) and saw the tiniest puff of white smoke which dissipated immediately. No chance to tell if it was the same as the problem smoke or not.

But I was a bit worried about the test...as you say....so I didn't use much of either liquid. Oh well.....it was a thought....

Hopefully tomorrow I can start the teardown. Might not be ready to report what I found for a couple of days. But I will. And then I will once I have it fixed, I will report as well. Might help someone else someday.

Do you know, with all the sparkplug charts I Googled, not one showed a plug that had been subjected to a head gasket leak where coolant was involved. It was all fuel mixture problems or oil burning issues.

I suspect that I have a head gasket failure that doesn't show up until the engine is warm. That's why the rad system holds pressure when I test it cold. It also doesn't show up (rad pressure leak) when I test it hot. I think it's odd in that I need the vaccum of the piston going down, PLUS the pressure of a heated cooling system to shove coolant into the cylinder. So why is the sparkplug dark, and not white? Well....all I can think is that the coolant is brown (probably from rust from the block) and leaves deposits. Hey, maybe the head gasket is so bad, I have both oil and coolant leaking in.....LOL.

All I can hope at this point, is that the problem is obvious when I tear it down.....mind you, I thought this (that it was obvious) a few days ago when I found oil around the intake gasket........but that didn't work.....sigh.......

Last edited by Argess; 08-11-2008 at 06:41 AM.
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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 08-30-2008, 06:59 AM
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I havn't got the offending piston out yet, but it's some sort of piston/ring problem. Leak-down test shows high leakage past rings.

Cause is detonation. Turns out the outer ring on my harmonic balancer (damper) had shifted and I was around 20Deg more advanced than I should be.

I can see slight errosion on the chamfered edge on teh circumference of teh piston.....a couple inches centered around the quench/ thrust side.
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Old 08-30-2008, 08:05 AM
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I'm sorry I didn't see this thread earlier. You have it down, but you want to make sure that you pinpoint WHAT caused it before you button up again. I have some doubts about it being timing related, you should have some damage on all the cylinders instead of just #1. I see that you apparently did a correct leakdown...40psi won't cut it. I do a lot of FE engines, 428s primarily. Although there was mention of a head gasket leak, the intake can leak at that front corner enough to allow coolant into that port. That can also cause errosion of the piston as well as ring sealing issues. If the heads have been decked, you should set the intake on without gaskets and check the seating. Because the intake provides part of the head area, a mismatch from milling of the heads and not the intake too can create a poor seal that will eventually leak coolant into the intake port nearest it. The fact that only one cylinder was affected makes me doubt it being caused by a timing issue. If more are found, that may have caused it, but all the cylinders would have been subjected to over adavance. I would have also thought that you would have heard it "rattle" from so much advance. It should have sounded like a box of rocks rattling.
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Old 08-30-2008, 10:18 AM
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Well, there's a bit of that edge pitting on #2 as well, and a tinier amount on #3. #4 is OK. Don't have the left head off yet.

This all happened when I was experimenting with timing. Now that I see how advanced it really must have been, I suspect timing. The other 7 plugs were pure bright white after the last timing change, which I think can indicate overheating due to over-advanced timing among other things.

It will be interesting once I pull the piston. The cylinder wall looks perfect, so I doubt the rings are broken, but perhaps can be "collapsed" due to loss of temper, or whatever happens when they overheat. Apparently Forged pistons transfer heat more than cast.

I'm hoping for a simple glaze-breaking re-ring job, but I have my doubts.

As for the noise, I suspect I've been having this problem all along, but just not bad enough to cause issues. With headers and side-pipes it is so noisey it's hard to tell. It also accelerates so quickly, you don't have time to listen for much. When I was experimenting with the timing a few weeks ago, I noticed that when I set the intial back to about 6 Deg BTDC, the "bark" was gone, yet the engine accelerated super smooth and didn't seem to fight me at the top end. Only now do I realize, the engine wasn't really at 6 Deg BTDC because the damper had slipped.

The intake was out of whack......a straight-edge along the bottom showed the lower portion of the #1 port flange was at least 0.006" in from the straight-edge line. Plus, the angles seemed a little off from the 45Deg.....as if the bottom wasn't as completely tight as the top. Since then I've had the manifold planed, but havn't checked the fit yet.

Right now I am worried about the piston rocking a bit, but if the rings have lost their springiness, maybe that's why. Once it's apart, I'll know more about damage, but you are right. I'm not 100% sure of what really happened. White smoke and an oil plug?...maybe more than one fault at the same time was occuring.

Oh....tops of pistons all looked the same.....a little black colouring from carbon here and there, and the rest an orange hue, which also may have been from heat.

Thank-you for your comments. I appreciate all the help I can get.

Edit:

I forgot to mention...no, I did not do a proper leak-down test. I merely repeated what I did before. I pressurized the cylinder and listened for leaks. Compared it by ear to #2 cylinder. Air sound coming from crankcase seemed much louder on #1, so I assume it's getting past the rings. No sounds of air from intake port or exhaust pipe, so valves appear to be OK. For leak-down, I did the 40 psi thing again, but measured differently. For a good cylinder, it was taking about 15 seconds to drop from 40 to 20 psi, and on #1, it took only 8 seconds.

Head gasket did not show signs of any leaking. When teh cylidnr was pressurized, I filled the block as far as I could.....so the coolant level was about to come out the exposed water jacket openings on the heads. No bubbles....none what-so-ever. Mind you, might have been different with a hot engine.

Last edited by Argess; 08-31-2008 at 06:52 AM.
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Old 09-18-2008, 09:22 AM
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I thought I'd post a follow-up as some of the reader's might be interested in what I eventually found out:

After a number of delays, I finally got the engine out a few days ago. GF helped (what a good girl!!!). Car was jacked up a bit high and a little too far ahead in the garage. Once I got the engine high enough to drag the hoist back, the tip of the hoist boom was too high to clear the flourescent light fixture. Took out the bulbs, dropped the engine as far as I dared and managed it somehow.

This morning, I managed to get the #1 piston out. Ring "land" between second and oil ring was broken away. 2nd ring was broken. Part of the oil ring seperator was missing and I found the little corrugated pieces sucked up against the oil pick-up.

So.....I might be able to get a replacement piston, but most likely will have to buy a set. Best thing really as some of the others may be cracked. #1 showed the most signs of detonation, but 2, and 3 showed respectively decreasing amounts. #4 was fine. On the driver's side, 5 through 8 were all OK.

Rod bearing on #1 was fine, not worn, but showed a bit of chatter marks as the piston was hammered by the detonation, so I'l change the rod bearings. I'll get the heads resurfaced as there is a bit of detoantion pitting on them. Probably won't get all of it off, but enough that I shouldn't get hot-spots and subsequent pre-ignition.

So...new pistons and rings, rod-bearings, cylinder de-glazing and a new damper and gaskets should fix me up.

Think I will put new spark-plug wires in too. #1 wire measured about 18Kohms...if I remember correctly, and the others all were between 10K and 12K. Shoudn't be an issue, but I had an outboard motor that kept melting the same piston unitl I discovered the pick-up coil for that cylinder was intermittent.

So what did I learn from all this?

1/ The old story of Ford FE dampers slipping their outer ring is NOT an old wive's tale.

2/ A compression check doesn't necessarily show up major damage, but a leak-down test will, even a sort of bogus home made leak-down test.

3/ An FE with forged pistons can handle a hell of a lot of ignition advance before things go screwy.

4/ In a convertible, with headers and sidepipes, I can't hear detonation.

5/ Burning oil can cause white-gray smoke, not necessarily blue.

Comments anyone?
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  #25 (permalink)  
Old 09-18-2008, 10:54 AM
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See my "useless"comments elsewhere

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  #26 (permalink)  
Old 09-18-2008, 11:18 AM
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Darn me.....I forgot.....A BIG THANK-YOU to all of you who rpovided their thoughts on this matter.

(and in particular, Ireland's Child, who told me about this forum)
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Old 09-18-2008, 12:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Argess
I thought I'd post a follow-up as some of the reader's might be interested in what I eventually found out:

After a number of delays, I finally got the engine out a few days ago. GF helped (what a good girl!!!). Car was jacked up a bit high and a little too far ahead in the garage. Once I got the engine high enough to drag the hoist back, the tip of the hoist boom was too high to clear the flourescent light fixture. Took out the bulbs, dropped the engine as far as I dared and managed it somehow.

This morning, I managed to get the #1 piston out. Ring "land" between second and oil ring was broken away. 2nd ring was broken. Part of the oil ring seperator was missing and I found the little corrugated pieces sucked up against the oil pick-up.

So.....I might be able to get a replacement piston, but most likely will have to buy a set. Best thing really as some of the others may be cracked. #1 showed the most signs of detonation, but 2, and 3 showed respectively decreasing amounts. #4 was fine. On the driver's side, 5 through 8 were all OK.

Rod bearing on #1 was fine, not worn, but showed a bit of chatter marks as the piston was hammered by the detonation, so I'l change the rod bearings. I'll get the heads resurfaced as there is a bit of detoantion pitting on them. Probably won't get all of it off, but enough that I shouldn't get hot-spots and subsequent pre-ignition.

So...new pistons and rings, rod-bearings, cylinder de-glazing and a new damper and gaskets should fix me up.

Think I will put new spark-plug wires in too. #1 wire measured about 18Kohms...if I remember correctly, and the others all were between 10K and 12K. Shoudn't be an issue, but I had an outboard motor that kept melting the same piston unitl I discovered the pick-up coil for that cylinder was intermittent.

So what did I learn from all this?

1/ The old story of Ford FE dampers slipping their outer ring is NOT an old wive's tale.

2/ A compression check doesn't necessarily show up major damage, but a leak-down test will, even a sort of bogus home made leak-down test.

3/ An FE with forged pistons can handle a hell of a lot of ignition advance before things go screwy.

4/ In a convertible, with headers and sidepipes, I can't hear detonation.

5/ Burning oil can cause white-gray smoke, not necessarily blue.

Comments anyone?
What you say is true, all of this can be expected.

For the damper usually some years before the ring comes loose from the rubber junction between it and the hub, you will notice the rubber bulging out of the gap.

Yes on the leak down test, the upper ring still being there hid the damage from a compression test.

The FE Ford is very detonation sensitive, back when I ran them, they were always a test for who was honest in their gasoline's octane claims. The combustion chamber is pretty large, the spark plug is way off to one side, and the squish/quench pad is rather small. These are characteristics that make the engine prone to preignition and detonation because it takes a long time for the burn to get across the chamber having to travel the full diameter also the small amount of squish/quench dosen't stir the incoming charge enough to help it burn efficiently and the lack of end burn quench doesn't take enough heat out to prevent the end burn from exploding. This was OK in the days of 100 plus high lead fuels, well actually even a bit iffy then as I stated earlier. But this is a serious issue with todays fuels.

Things you can do to help, range from running the engine cooler, the mixture richer, and the advance rate both slower and lesser. A big help since you have the engine apart is oil on the bottom of the piston crown to cool it. The rods you have should have a passage milled from the bearing parting line around the bolt shank to an orifice formed when the shank and cap are mated. This was originally there to put an indexed stream of pressure oil on the bottom of the piston crown to cool it. However, later rod bearings do not have the gap in them necessary to permit oil to pass thru this area. If you take a jewelers round file and put a semi circular groove in the side bearing, it will restore this feature to functionality. While oil consumption may increase slightly, which for emissions reasons is why these features were eliminated by everybody, you'll find the decrease in crown temperature is worth 6-8 octane points and the FE certainly can use this help. So can R and RB Chrysler's, Oldsmobile's, Pontiac's, and open chamber SBCs, and BBC for that matter.


Bogie
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Old 09-18-2008, 04:47 PM
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Thanks....I know the rods have the oil "squirter" passage, but I can't remember if the bearings did. I'll have to look.
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  #29 (permalink)  
Old 09-19-2008, 08:50 AM
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Hi Argess, & GF
Thanks for the up-date, it's good to find out just what was wrong with the amount of things it could have been.
And what's this you have a GF that puts with our kind of nonsense & still comes out to the garage & helps, man she's definitely a keeper.
Rich

Dave W (Ireland's child) is a cool guy huh

Last edited by richard stewart 3rd; 09-19-2008 at 08:58 AM.
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Old 09-19-2008, 10:35 AM
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So there I am taking nuts and bolts off the engine, getting ready to yank it out. GF is waiting to help with the hoist operation, so she decides to scrape old gaskets, clean parts, etc. while she waits.

Actually, I'm kind of lazy and she's a workaholic......very good for me....keeps me motivated. I'm lucky...she's a keeper. LOL....my first two wives wern't like her at all!!!


I always wanted to be a Procrastinator when I grew up, but I kept putting it off!
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