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2.3L ('83-'97) Dropped Head Alignment Pin in Oil Return. Help?


Manual_Man

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Hi all,
Something happened that never should have even if I tried. When prepping deck of 1994 2.3 to set replacement head, there was a slip. The rear alignment dowel fell into the oil return hole in top rear right side of block.

Could not have made that happen if I tried. So my question is am I screwed?
The pin is not visible via borescope, highly unlikely to be recovered with block in vehicle or even possibly out.

I am wondering will this dowel simply drop to an oil gally floor and sit harmless, drop to the oil pan and sit harmless or do I have a bigger problem to deal with?

Thank You.
The attached image has same exact deck but slightly different on some accessory mounts. It was downloaded and represents a slightly different year.
Honed1-1.jpg
 


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Shran

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What about fishing your bore scope camera through the oil drain plug hole? Maybe see if it's in the pan? Then maybe pull it back up with a flexible magnet, or out through the drain plug hole with a magnet...

I can't say for sure if that's where it went but I guess I suspect it's in the pan. I'm not super familiar with where those holes go though. I do know I sure wouldn't leave it in there.
 

Manual_Man

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Ya, no that is an issue. The hole has a small ledge and once the pin went in it slid off of the ledge and vanished. The borescope can't even make the turn. I did get confirmation from the machine shop that due to all of the curves I in the casting it will most likely get lodged in a corner and never make it out of the oil passage. One good thing is cast iron block and head, head bolt goes through dowel. So dowel is not solid and oil can flow through.

If it does the pin based on block shape should drop safely into the pan and never come close to a y moving parts. Ford should never have made that passage hole as large as the dowel hole. Since these motors have been around since the 70's I am fairly sure other mechanics have done this before.

All I can do at this time is cross my fingers. Not gonna pull the block. Worse case I will part out the vehicle.

I will be sure to post my results after the fact and update as time passes so others will be informed. The friend mechanic replaces heads every day and this is a first for him.
 

tomw

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My take would be that it will make it to the pan, possibly, and find a resting place on the bottom. It cannot get sucked into the pump intake, but may roll around with acceleration, braking and turning.
You could snake a magnet into the pan via the drain plug, and possibly sweep it back and forth across the bottom to see if it is there. A stiff wire, such as coat hanger wire, with a magnet attached would attract and hold the dowel/ferrule.
The only thing moving around down there is the crankshaft, and it's up several inches from the bottom of the pan.
I would not worry about it.
 

Manual_Man

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Thanks, that is what I decided to do, I know the pin can't be sucked back up. Fired up the motor yesterday. Have run into a second issue. The engine runs but with a new issue.

Timing belt is all aligned properly but I am throwing a Key On Engine Off code 211 and will not idle. Also getting CO2 Lean code. I hope that is due to the crank sensor not being accessed. I sure hope I don't have to pull it partly back apart and replace crank sensor. But since it's happening without motor running, probably will have to.
 

19Walt93

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I'd spray a bunch of brake clean in the hole to try and get rid of oil that might stick it in place, then turn it upside down and try to shake it out. If I left that in the oil passage it would end up obstructing the flow and cause problems, I never get away with stuff.
 

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Hi, if the motor was not in truck that could be possible maybe. But this is a simple head job only. Would have to flip the truck and shake it. This vehicle has 4 drains so I should be okay.

The odd thing is other 3 holes were smaller. The pin could never fall in. Now thinking this is simply a secondary passage for steep inclines. It is a California setup. For some reason my last 2 new Ford's bought in Florida had California emissions.
 

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My fingers are crossed for you.
 

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Thanks,
Been running a bit. But have not to do next week. So far so good.
 

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Manual Man:

I never say $tuff like this but...your telling the WORLD that you dropped an alignment pin into your open engine and now your driving it, without having retrieved it???

What do you do for a living, because whatever field your in, I need to start learning, so that YOU never decide my fate.

You are eating "The Donut Hole"!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

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Manual Man:

I never say $tuff like this but...your telling the WORLD that you dropped an alignment pin into your open engine and now your driving it, without having retrieved it???

What do you do for a living, because whatever field your in, I need to start learning, so that YOU never decide my fate.

You are eating "The Donut Hole"!!!!!!!!!!!!
He did come here and ask for advice and opinions so he could assess the risk. We all make mistakes.
 

tomw

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I would check the belt alignment one more time. It is EASY to get the belt off one tooth. I haven't looked up the code, but an engine with the belt off will either have a poor idle, and need to rev a lot before it develops power, or will run fine slow, but have no top end. I put mine back together one time, and it ran, but I had to rev the beans out of it to get it to move out of its own way. Found my timing belt was off 1 tooth.
It can't hurt to check, and you only have to remove the plug on the front(belt) cover to see the triangle while getting the pulley to TDC. If you don't see the triangle on the edge of the sprocket, rotate the crank one complete turn. If still missing, you gotta problem...
tom
 

Manual_Man

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Manual Man:

I never say $tuff like this but...your telling the WORLD that you dropped an alignment pin into your open engine and now your driving it, without having retrieved it???

What do you do for a living, because whatever field your in, I need to start learning, so that YOU never decide my fate.

You are eating "The Donut Hole"!!!!!!!!!!!!
Let me explain.
If this was in the cylinder then yes the part would have to be retrived. The part however dropped in a hole which seems only as a secondary oil drain when the vehicle is on a steep ground grade such as climbing a steep hill.

Am I happy the part remains, no! Still after getting a chance to visit a very good machine speed shop that has been in business 40 years with long term experienced employees and getting their input on the situation, it was determined the chances of any issues are less than 1/10th of 1%.

Most likely this part will never cause an issue. Think of a 1/4" piece of straw dropped in a toilet. The part is hollow and curved, almost impossible to block anything. The oil return dumps back to the pan so far away from any moving parts on the bottom half that the part will simply fall to the bottom and flush out with an oil change if it manages to get there at all. The part can not be sucked back into the engine past the oil pump screen.

Bottom line, everything in life has risk. Assessing the risk is the the best anyone can do. Based on the amount of miles on the vehicle and the additional costs involved to remove the engine to retrieve the part and other factors, a choice was made.

Should the worst happen I will proceed to what is planned for this vehicle in the future. Either way what ever happens I am okay with the outcome.
 

Manual_Man

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I would check the belt alignment one more time. It is EASY to get the belt off one tooth. I haven't looked up the code, but an engine with the belt off will either have a poor idle, and need to rev a lot before it develops power, or will run fine slow, but have no top end. I put mine back together one time, and it ran, but I had to rev the beans out of it to get it to move out of its own way. Found my timing belt was off 1 tooth.
It can't hurt to check, and you only have to remove the plug on the front(belt) cover to see the triangle while getting the pulley to TDC. If you don't see the triangle on the edge of the sprocket, rotate the crank one complete turn. If still missing, you gotta problem...
tom
Hi thanks,
We have pretty much concluded that is the problem you described for more than one reason. First cleared the codes after shutting down, codes did not return other than lean. Also a friend managed to get in contact with a Ford Veteran Mechanic. He basically said same that it must be off one tooth on the timing.

Job is on hold now for a week. Will report results back.
 

Manual_Man

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Drive it forever if you can.
He did come here and ask for advice and opinions so he could assess the risk. We all make mistakes.
Thanks for your backing. The truth is this should never have happened. I checked the other drains and the pin can not go in. The hole has not been confirmed as to it's actual purpose. Possible just a vent for evap.

Either way like anything else as stated in other post you have to access the risk. If life has no risk it would not be fun.

I actually found someone who has a block for sale for this exact engine. The block is stripped. They are going to look at the stripped block and see if they can determine if the hole has an out and where it goes or if it is a dead end.
 


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