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Old 07-29-2008, 14:07   #1 (permalink)
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428 smoking ... #1 cylinder

My 428 smokes out the right side only. Happens when I accelerate, or even tap the gas in neutral. I have narrowed it down to #1 cylinder. Here's the facts:

All plugs look like new, .....white porcelin with a bit of tan showing, except #1. #1 has porcelin the colour of battleship gray and the center elctrode was a bit wet with what I think is oil.

A compression test shows 196 psi in all cylinders (well, most....I didn't check all), and a tiny drop in cylinder #1.....i.e. 195 psi....barely the width of the gauge needle.

If I disconnect the sparkplug wire from #1 cylinder, the smoking completely stops.

The smoke is white/gray, but smells like exhaust and is definately not water (steam). I thought oil smoke was usually blue, but maybe not, as I am running synthetic.

I removed the valve cover and the valve seals for #1 cylinder appear OK.....positive type and still fastened around the valve guides.

I can't tell about the intake manifold gasket, but it's my best guess so far. Kind of a pain to change, but it's probably my next step. Maybe I'll swap valve seals around first....hmmmm.....

Engine has about 3000 miles on it. Problem may have always been there. I used to get too much smoke from accelerating. Changed the white accelerator pump cams to black and the smoke dissapeared from the left side, but left this problem still on the right side.

I was tinkering with the timing. I moved it from 10BTDC to 15BTDC when I disscovered my max total advance was only 24 degrees. After I did that, the smoke was way worse. No surprise as I'm sure intake manifold vacumm increased quite a bit with the ignition timing increase, therfore sucking in more oil, fuel, or whatever.

Oh......I use twin Holley's on a single plane divided plenum manifold. I can't see how it could be a problem. Even if it was puddling fuel on the manifold floor, more than one cylinder should be affected. But I mention it anyway just in case.

Any thoughts out there before I start tearing things apart? I appreciate any thoughts on the matter. Thank-you.

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Old 07-29-2008, 14:45   #2 (permalink)
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Re: 428 smoking ... #1 cylinder

Had same symptom and tested the intake manifold by spraying brake/carb cleaner (or maybe wd40) around the edge of the manifold while the engine was running. The engine sped up indicating a vacuum leak, and it turned out to be a broken intake gasket.
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Old 07-30-2008, 04:24   #3 (permalink)
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Re: 428 smoking ... #1 cylinder

Thanks for the reply. I sort of think it's the intake manifold gasket too. Not quite sure how you managed to spray around the manifold though.....unless the valve covers were off......and I bet that will be a mess......LOL. I'll give it a try though.
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Old 07-30-2008, 10:26   #4 (permalink)
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Re: 428 smoking ... #1 cylinder

Got the seals changed. No difference. Really chickened out on the spray idea......oil woujld be flying everywhere. Guess I'll take off the manifold and inspect......

oh.......smoking doesn't start right away,.....have to drive at least `1/2 mile before it starts and it doesn't get heavy until about 1 mile of driving.
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Old 08-02-2008, 13:14   #5 (permalink)
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Re: 428 smoking ... #1 cylinder

Got the intake off. Oil leak around intake. Wasn't water. I pressure tested cylinder and no bubbles or pressure build-up in puke tank.

My fault I think. I used 3" long bolts for the 8 long intake bolts. Supposed to be 2 and 5/8". I think the bolts were bottoming out before the intake was completely tight.

Gaskets really sealed well around the water passages. I used gasket sealer there. Think I will coat both gaskets completey....both sides. Probably hell to remove, but ...

Once I get this working, I'll let you to know to confirm what I've found so far.
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Old 08-07-2008, 07:06   #6 (permalink)
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Re: 428 smoking ... #1 cylinder

I thought I had this figured out, BUT.....changed the manifold gaskets and it still smokes.

It doesn't smoke when cold, but begins after running a few minutes. Gets worse as the engine heats up (oil getting thinner?)

All spark plugs other than #1 look perfect. #1 looks "oily".

Another Compression test (of all 8 cylinders) showed pressures between 195 and 205.

When changing the gasket, the original didn't seem sealed around the #1 intake port. There was oil on the cylinder head around the port and inside the gasket opening for the port. Looking back up the intake manifold, #1 seemed a bit wet. Underside inspection did not reveal any cracks in the intake manifold.

Besides shortening the manifold bolts to the proper length, I also did away with the manifold end seals and just used silicon instead.....just in case the cork was too thin and the manifold wasn't droppiong down completely.

So......because it seems to get worse as the engine wearms up, I do not think there is a mechanical problem. Besides, the CR is fine. So I get back to gasket issues. Guess I'll have to get manifold/head angles checked and check the head gasket (would be one crazy leaking head gasket to leak oil into #1 cylinder.....just miles of cast iron between cylinder and any source of oil....not like a water leak).

Anyway.....all that work so far, and no improvement.....sigh............

Eventually I'll fix it, but it may become a winter project....
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Old 08-07-2008, 07:21   #7 (permalink)
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Re: 428 smoking ... #1 cylinder

I know you have checked it out already but it sure sounds like a valve seal.
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Old 08-07-2008, 08:47   #8 (permalink)
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Re: 428 smoking ... #1 cylinder

Yes, it does, doesn't it. I actually swapped the intake and exhaust seals (they're the same on this engine) and no change. They looked fine too when I inspected them.

I tried sort of a home-made leak-down test. I pressurized the cylinder to 40+ psi and measured the time for the pressure to drop from 40 to zero. It did seem quicker in #1, but I really wasn't getting consistency between any of the cylinders, even though I put each one at its TDC for the test. I may try to make a real leak-down tester. Just a couple of gauges, a 0.040" , 1/4" long restrictor and some plumbing bits and pieces.

Basically, I have to take things back apart. Since I used gasket sealer around all ports this time (not just the water passage), the gaskets should be stuck pretty good. If there's an area of the gasket that's not stuck, it indicates oil got by.

I think the problem is beyond internet help as even if I made a video, you couldn't smell the smoke.....LOL. It definately smells like exhaust and burns the eyes (and it's more gray than white, sometimes yellowish). SO.....if I don't find anything after stipping down the manifold (again...sigh), I'll take that cylinder head off and check the gasket. If I still can't find anything, I'll have to jack the car up, remove the oil pan, and remove #1 con-rod cap, pull the piston, and inspect the cylinder and rings.

Just so weird.....smoking gets worse as the engine heats up.......weird.....

Thanks again for the help. Not a lot on the FE on the internet anymore.
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Old 09-18-2008, 07:27   #9 (permalink)
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Re: 428 smoking ... #1 cylinder

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. I caued the detonation myself by adjsuting the timing with the damper ring shifted. At least 20 degrees further advanced then where I thought it was!

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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