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Old 09-02-2002, 06:48   #1 (permalink)
formerly sikEA
 
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Problems and story of Head Gasket change (beware, very long post)

Hey all

I have been through it all recently with my EA, now that im almost there, I thought i'd take the time to tell you all about it.

Ok, so one day I noticed the car had a shit load of coolant on the block. took exhaust heat shield off to see if it was the head or welsh plugs, and yep, head was the culprit. Bugger. Drove it like that keeping an eye on the water levels for a week or so, just so mum and dad could pick up their new car so we wouldnt be down a set of wheels. That arrived, my car went into the shed. Now the fun began...

Pulled the motor apart and found all the lifters were stuffed. The rocker assembly had a think coat of black shit all over it, old oil that had been seriously cooked and baked on there as a result from the car blowing the head big time by a previous owner. Not to worry, managed to find a lifter repair kit for 30 bucks, did them all up, didnt worry too much about cleaning off the rocker assembly. took the head down for a skim, had the valve seats done and found a few spots that needed welding. No dramas there...didnt end up getting a port job done. will buy another head one day and cut sick on that.

Seeing as though the donk had been seriously cooked once before, had a look at all the bores to see what condition they were in. Luckily, bores were all still mickey mouse, and pistons were fine (its only done 150 thousand klicks). Then I noticed the timing chain guide was broken. That meant i had to take the sump off.......argh what a pain. But hey, I have pulled it all apart and know everything thats wrong. Sweet. Or so I thought....

Started bolting it all back together. Was going fine until we looked at the dizzy. The cap was stuffed, and so was the rotor arm. There wasnt even a button left on the cap! It explained why I had been getting about 20l/100klms fuel consumption, there was sooo little spark and the computer was compensating with fuel. I still cant beleive it ran as well as it did. So replaced all that, new ignition leads, new PCV valve went on as well. Painted up my rocker cover, put it all back on, and eventually got it to a point where it would run. Fired it, cough cough fart. All i got for about half an hour. Crap.

Turns out the dizzy cap wasnt on properly, fixed that, and also cylinder 6 wasnt firing. Dodgy new lead. Got that fixed, fired her up and she ran sweet. But had no idle. Reset computer many times, still no idle. Gave up, decided i'd take it to ford and get them to double check the computer, idle and make sure we set the timing right. (we dont have a timing light, we went off the marks on the block and cam gear)

They checked the timing, charged me 5 bucks. They told me to just reset the computer after the timing check, and it should all be sweet. But on that drive home, i noticed the car was very very slow, and would cut out all the time. Not cut out as in stall, but when at part throttle cruising, the revs would drop about 500 rpm and almost stall, then splutter a bit and then go again. Did this alllllllll the time. One of the sensors is gone I thought, booked it back into Ford for a diagnostic check

Check came up fine. They reset the computer properly in base mode, reset the idle (it was wayyyyy out), rechecked timing. They also told me that the throttle cable that we installed a year ago was wrong, and that it wasnt opening up the throttle body to its extents. Just another thing to fix. Dad drove it and said it was fine. I got home from TAFE, took it for a blat. and found these following problems

1. Down low, its a real slug. Doesnt come on until about 3000rpm, then goes just fine. I know this is common, but it seems soooo much slower than what it did before. It could just be me, because now when I flog it the tacho needle is very linear, it used to hit about 3000 rpm then swing right thru to redline, and u could feel it in the seat. that was prolly cos it finally had enough spark.....but yeah. Very smooth now, but seems much slower

2. At cruising, it still hits that big dead spot. I have been thinking about it now for ages, and have come to the conclusion it could be one of three things.

a. it almost feels as like its changing gears wayyy before its meant to (4 spd Auto) and thats why its dying in the arse. I have also noticed lately its hesitant to kick down, but its been like that for months. I have no idea about what could cause that, any suggestions? Note I havent had it serviced in the last 18 months, and it used to be fine before the head went.

b. Fuel problem. Whether it be pump, filter or regulator I dunno. I am doing the filter tomorrow anyway, so I see how that goes.

c. The coil is stuffed. I only think that because I have replaced everything else

oh and d. The cat converter is shot. Well, I reckon its shot anyway cos the exhaust bloke said it was marginal when he put the 2.5in on it back in feb, and since then its been running rich anyway.

But what I dont understand about any of them is why its doing it AFTER i basically rebuild the top end of the motor. Its just like its going up a hill, the revs drop right down low and it feels like it labouring. Speed decreases dramatically. If I give it some gas, it picks up after a bit (usually drops down a gear) and goes normally till I go back to part throttle where It does it again. If i take foot off gas, it drops to idle and behaves normally again till i go back to part throttle.

Runs sweet as at idle, out of gear revs crisp and cleanly. Does anyone have any idea on what could be wrong?????

Sorry for the long post guys.

siko

oh and PS....I recommend to anyone having a go at fixing your car when its broke. I cant get over how much I learned the past month, just by seeing how it all goes together and getting things explained. Its also a lot of fun IMO, and im sure I will love the feeling when its all running nice again. I was even happy when I first heard it fire, even though it was running on 5 cylinders with an idle of 400rpm hehe....
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Old 09-02-2002, 07:24   #2 (permalink)
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Hey mate, sorry to hear about your problems.

I'm actually on my second EA engine removal and install now, the first one was to put an engine from a car i bought at the auctions into my friends dads car and the second one i am doing now to change the oil sump gasket and transmission.

While the engine is out I figured it would be a good time to do the head gasket as well, as my engine has a oil leak at the front of the gasket. Everything is going pretty good so far, no big drama's as yet and I'm getting the head reconditioned tommorow and maybe a few air flow mods as well.

When you did the head gasket change did you scrap all the residue off, and lightly sand the block face back to a shiny surface? You should do a compression test and see what your compression is at, they should all be at a minimum of 1010(kPa?)Also did you make sure the timing chain tensioner thingy was released so that there was tension again on the chain? Thats pretty important and something i almost forgot.

The only other thing I can think of for your problem is that you have left something disconnected somewhere. I have a feeling when i put my motor back together something like that will happen to me knowing my luck :hrm: You should triple check all your connectors and all your vacuum lines to make sure they are going to where they are meant to.

Oh yeah and don't feel like a ninny about having to pull your oil sump off to fix your timing chain dampner... when me and my friend was changing the oil sump gasket on his dads EA engine when we heard something fall down into the sump... and when we took it off found some plasticy object and couldn't work out what it was off. It was only AFTER we put all the engine back in and me flicking through the gregories manual finally find out it's the lower timing chain dampner DOH!
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Old 09-02-2002, 16:41   #3 (permalink)
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I have a good guess on your problem. Camshaft timing. Sounds like it is retarded by a tooth or so. I know because I did this same thing to my Brock Commodore years back (used the wrong crankshaft key) and it had the same symptoms.

Retarded cams cause a loss in response and driveability down low, however the engine will run real well higher in the rev band.

Otherwise, I can only guess it's a vacuum leak somewhere.
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Old 09-03-2002, 01:11   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks guys

We replaced the fuel filter today and that fixed the problem of it dying in the arse at part throttle.......for an hour or so. On the drive home from TAFE it started to do it again. So I have no bloody idea, it might be that im not getting enough fuel pressure, i will have to get that checked. Same with injectors.

That Cam timing could be a possible cause, I will have to check it out. But wouldnt that come up when the Ford blokes did the timing? Vaccum should be ok, cant see anything loose and the guys at Ford didnt pick it up......but I will have another good look at it.

Just to prove myself right i did a 0 to 100kph test today from the toll booths. Normally, I'd do a mid 9 with 2 passengers, but today i could only manage a mid 15. Not really happy.

I also played much attention to the gearbox, and it seems it is kinda hesitant to kickdown on occasion, but what I did notice today is that when slowing down its really shifting roughly from 3rd to 2nd as well as 2nd to 1st. No slip in upshifts though....

Im really starting to get the shits now, if I find anything tooo drastic thats wrong with it, i might just get it fixed and sell it. EB/ED Fairmont/XR6 would be a worthy replacement me thinks....maybe even a VR Commodore Berlina. mmmm
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Old 09-03-2002, 05:05   #5 (permalink)
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i would go with the cam timing being retarded. i had the same problem with my car, caused by an extremely stretched timing chain. the timing the ford blokes did doesnt have anything to do with the cam timing.
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Old 09-03-2002, 09:45   #6 (permalink)
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This?
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Old 09-03-2002, 18:39   #7 (permalink)
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Ooohhh! Yes, that's a good one! I'd be checking that for sure!
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Old 09-04-2002, 00:59   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks again lads

Im almost certain the gasket is the right type...But it wouldnt hurt to check. It should be right, cos my uncle works at Ford and he supplied the whole lot, but I will have a look anyway.

I'll do that when I check the cam, probably on friday.

Does anyone think it could be the fuel pump? I know Bass Crazy a while back had a similar problem, where his thing was a total slug until the fuel pump seized. He changed it, and viola, it was mickey mouse again. Im begging to think its fuel related though, whether it be pump, regulator, injectors, or gasket like previously mentioned.

Or the cam

Or the Cat converter

this list just keeps on getting longer :s3
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Old 09-04-2002, 01:49   #9 (permalink)
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It's easy to checkthe gasket ; the MPEFI gasket is about 1/8 inch (4mm) thick while the CFI gasket is usually paper thin.
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Old 09-11-2002, 08:01   #10 (permalink)
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I just did my head gasket on my car... and one of the things i noticed on my car was that the harmonic balancer had slipped and was now pointing at the wrong spot for the timing. If you played with the timing at all you should check that your harmonic balancer hasn't slipped from it's spot. Put a screw driver inside the spark plug hole for number 1 cyclinder and slowly rotate the crank shaft clockwise, until it reaches the "ignition" marking... keep turning it clockwise, and watch the screw driver as it reaches the "TDC" mark. The screw driver shouldn't push out of the hole any further between the two points. Keep turning the crank and just as it gets past the TDC mark it should start to go back down again.

If it's already going down by the TDC mark you have a problem.
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