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2.3L ('83-'97) Reman. Cylinder Head Saga


Shran

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Oh boy. Did you post that cylinder wall pic before? I don't remember seeing it. I would have suggested pulling the engine and at least honing that cylinder if not something more drastic, plus rings on it at a minimum. Maybe the rings are just stuck and it'll work itself out but I'm not hopeful.

See that a lot with small engines, especially cheap weed whackers and stuff that have crappy air filters. Chunk of dirt or carbon gets in there, scores the cylinder and rings and you end up with very little compression.

There is an old trick, back in the day guys would free up stuck rings by dribbling ATF down the carb while the engine was running. Sometimes it would help. You could dry sea foaming it too through a vacuum line, let it suck a bottle in and see if it does anything. Another trick was to pour small amounts of Comet kitchen cleaner powder in while it was running (new engine) and that would help seat the rings.
 


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CAJones

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I did, back on page three (post #39). It got mixed opinions and since I couldn't feel a gouge; I went for it...oh well...I knew there was an element of risk with doing this whole job. The head gasket blew between cylinders 1 and 2 and I figure those marks came from that. I read somewhere online that the coolant leaking into the cylinder could damage the rings.

I started her up today, runs a little rough and moves under her own power without any hesitation. I drove 200 hundred feet down the street and then back into the garage.

Question now is: do I just drive it until cylinder 1 causes more issues? I have no idea what driving around with cylinder 1 is going to do. Assuming it is going to be hard on the engine as gases are probably escaping past the cylinder head and into the crankcase? I'll assume worst case here and predict that the rings are torn up on cylinder 1 and the engine won't last more than another 25 miles. The whole repair was for no damn reason other than now I can say that I have completed a head job...bloody hell...
 

scotts90ranger

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I say put a bit of ATF into the #1 spark plug hole, let it sit overnight then take it for a rip, run it hard and hot for a few minutes, rev it to 5000rpm in gear wide open throttle or close then engine brake down to slower to get high cylinder pressure then low, that should cycle it through and if anything is going to happen it will... then recheck the compression, see if it's better or worse :)
 

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Rev the engine that hard immediately on a cold engine to get it up to temp ASAP? What gear would you do this in, go from 2nd to 1st?

What is the purpose of this? Trying to burn off the carbon on the rings? I don't quite know the details of how piston rings work.
 

scotts90ranger

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not really cold, few minutes of idle or driving around wouldn't hurt.

Piston rings seat with cylinder pressure, the pressure gets behind the rings inside the piston and push the rings out into the cylinder walls which is why turbo engines have more ring and cylinder wall wear than the N/A version of the same engine. What I suspect "might" happen is the ATF could loosen the carbon in the ring lands a little then the extra cylinder pressure both ways could help get the rings moving again. It's a theory, but stupid things work sometimes

As for what gear, shouldn't matter, first or second keeps the speeds down, I know mine hits the rev limit in second at 50mph...
 

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I'll give it a shot this weekend. Thanks for the information.
 

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Oh boy. Did you post that cylinder wall pic before? I don't remember seeing it. I would have suggested pulling the engine and at least honing that cylinder if not something more drastic, plus rings on it at a minimum. Maybe the rings are just stuck and it'll work itself out but I'm not hopeful.

See that a lot with small engines, especially cheap weed whackers and stuff that have crappy air filters. Chunk of dirt or carbon gets in there, scores the cylinder and rings and you end up with very little compression.

There is an old trick, back in the day guys would free up stuck rings by dribbling ATF down the carb while the engine was running. Sometimes it would help. You could dry sea foaming it too through a vacuum line, let it suck a bottle in and see if it does anything. Another trick was to pour small amounts of Comet kitchen cleaner powder in while it was running (new engine) and that would help seat the rings.
Yes, that was posted earlier! To which I replied it needed machine work.... but others seem to have thought otherwise🙄🙄🙄 .... oh well, lesson learned I Hope!
 

07nhbpsi

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Rev the engine that hard immediately on a cold engine to get it up to temp ASAP? What gear would you do this in, go from 2nd to 1st?

What is the purpose of this? Trying to burn off the carbon on the rings? I don't quite know the details of how piston rings work.
Good god, NO...... do not rev this piss out of a cold engine Ever.......😱🙄
 

CAJones

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Good god, NO...... do not rev this piss out of a cold engine Ever.......😱🙄
I would never do it, but wanted to check what he was saying, because even I wouldn't trust that.

Maybe it will last another 2k miles...or 20; but it might have been a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn how to change a head gasket and everything that entails. Considering the popularity of electric vehicles, who knows when the time comes for the last combustion engine vehicle that I will own. Yeah it cost $750, but in terms of mistakes made in vehicles purchases, that ain't bad. Chalk it up to life experiences.
 

Shran

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Yes, that was posted earlier! To which I replied it needed machine work.... but others seem to have thought otherwise🙄🙄🙄 .... oh well, lesson learned I Hope!
My bad, I thought I had followed this thread pretty well. I missed a couple critical posts, I would have agreed with you.

I would never do it, but wanted to check what he was saying, because even I wouldn't trust that.

Maybe it will last another 2k miles...or 20; but it might have been a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn how to change a head gasket and everything that entails. Considering the popularity of electric vehicles, who knows when the time comes for the last combustion engine vehicle that I will own. Yeah it cost $750, but in terms of mistakes made in vehicles purchases, that ain't bad. Chalk it up to life experiences.
Nothing stopping you from pulling it at this point and taking it to a machine shop to have them clean up that cylinder or the whole thing - you are in it this deep already, have the short block freshened up and it'll keep going for a long time. I don't think it would be super costly either... I had my 2.3 completely gone through - bored, new pistons, gasket set, head gone through and machined, etc... cost me $1500. You've already got a usable head, that's half the labor right there.

Or your could pull it, pull the crank and that one piston and see how it looks... maybe a ball hone, a new piston and rings on that cylinder would be good enough, I dunno.

My opinion is that when the head gasket popped, the gasket material went into that cylinder and that's where the damage came from.
 

CAJones

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No worries, I am getting free advice. That comes with the knowledge that it isn't perfect.

At this point, my time is more valuable than the amount of work it would take to get to the #1 cylinder. I am fortunate and can now afford $20k for a new used truck with 60k miles on it, so in the end I still may just go that route. I am going to try the ATF trick, add Marvel Mystery Oil and try a piston ring sealer. For $15, it can't really hurt at this point and if it helps, well hot damn!

How much ATF to add? A teaspoon?
 
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The engine should run reasonably well. It may burn oil more than normal, or it may push oil out through the PCV, depending on how much blowby gets into the crankcase.
If the PCV becomes overwhelmed, try putting a catch can between the oil separator on the side of the block under the intake manifold and the inline PCV valve(its in the hose at a union). The catch can would/should collect any liquid oil and let it settle in the can for disposal, or if clean, pouring back into the sump.
You may have noticeable misfire or intermittent poor idle depending on how well #1 will run w/75psi compression. It could run fine, or it could misfire. It will run better at higher rpms because there's less actual time for leakage past the rings to occur.
It actually could get better. I would NOT puff Comet cleanser down the intake. That was done years ago before ring technology was real good. Back then, Studebaker flathead 6 cylinders were noted for being oil burners. That trick may or may not have caused the rings to finally seat, depending.
Running the engine will get more oil onto the cylinder walls & piston rings. That could free up sticky rings. Or not. Beyond that, make sure to check your oil level on every fill up for a while, in case it decides it likes to eat oil. Oil is cheaper than a tow truck and a short block. Carry a spare quart behind the seat. It can stay there for a long time if not needed, but sure is nice to have available when you do. If you do it right now, you won't forget and put it off.
tom
 

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I have put about 30 miles on the truck while flushing the radiator. I can tell it is running a little rough, but it hasn't stalled and has no issues accelerating. It is spitting oil out from the dipstick; the dipstick doesn't really snap onto the tube very well, even when the engine is off. When I took everything apart, I did notice some oil in the intake, which now all the puzzle pieces are coming together for me.

I'll probably be checking the oil and coolant levels every time I drive it so I can keep better tabs on anything going more wrong. Going to drive it another 100 miles and check the compression again in cylinder 1.

Interesting point about the catch can, I'll have to look into that some more. Would it be wise to get a new PCV as well?
 
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Shran

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New PCV valve won't hurt, you can remove it and shake it, if it rattles, it's good. Catch can is a good idea.
 

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If you have to ask if you should replace your PCV valve, you need to replace your PCV valve. They cost like 3 bucks, come on!
 


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