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specific heat damage?


9723

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I'm wondering what specific heat damage I may have caused on my '97 2.3 Ranger.

I was on I-10 in Texas doing about 84 mph. Apparently my thermostat stuck closed. I didn't know they could do that, but I didn't see the gauge berried at the top of high. My shifter knob rattles, so I didn't hear the engine pinging immediately. Once I did hear it pinging, I noticed the temp gauge and pulled off the highway.

The tow truck cost more than the repair, and my Ranger still runs good and not smoking or any obvious damage, but....

..now it doesn't go up the hills as well, or face head winds very well either.

I can only guess I've lost some hp, due to compression loss. My guess the only damage is glaze on the cylinder wall and ring damage. I haven't done a compression test yet, I just got home....and will do that soon.

Any other thoughts and experiences are appreciated.


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RonD

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Overheating effects the head(s) more than block, coolant boils at 265degF(if rad cap was good) and the resulting air bubbles are trapped in head areas which super heat since the air can't circulate or absorb heat like fluid can.
The super heating causes the head metal to expand more which can cause cracks in the head and abnormally high pressure on the head gasket as head metal expands against the block, which can cause head gasket to fail.

I doubt rings would be the problem, exhaust valves are more likely if it is a compression issue, could even be stretched timing belt.

Cold engine
Remove 1 spark plug from each cylinder for the compression test, unplug BOTH coils.
Use screw in pressure gauge
Hold gas pedal to the floor when cranking engine for the test, this does two things, it allows maximum air flow with throttle plate open all the way and it shuts off fuel injectors.
Listen for 4 or 5 compression "hits" before stopping starter motor
Write down results of "dry test"
Use a straw to add about a teaspoon of oil to the cylinder and retest
"Wet test" will increase compression number as the rings will hold pressure better, but won't effect valve's pressure retention, if cylinder was 140psi dry and 145-150psi wet then rings are fine.

1997 2.3l at sea level to 2,000ft should have about 160-170psi compression numbers, assuming spark plugs removed and good battery for good crank speed, and accurate pressure gauge
 
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9723

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Thanks, good info. I will do what you advise. Though it might take a few days. I'm working thru the holiday.

What has me puzzled is, after the mech put in the thermostat (Sonora Texas), I had to go another 150 miles to complete my journey, then 400 miles back home. The ONLY difference I could tell at all was the difficulty going up hills and against head winds. Considering the lack of bottom end torque anywhere in the rpm range, it makes a difference that's fairly apparent.

...but it seemed normal otherwise. Smooth, quite, no smoke, no vibration.....but the engine didn't hmmmm or whine exactly the same at 84 as it did before, which is where it settles into its hp peak.

Just a slight, but meaningful lack of power at the higher end, which is something important enough to me that I'll have to fix.



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Mazda

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.

The tow truck cost more than the repair, and my Ranger still runs good and not smoking or any obvious damage, but...

Best "insurance" you can ever buy is to get a AAA mebership. Especially in Texas. You can become a premium member right away and get up to a 200 mile tow with your membership.

I would pull the head and get a valve job done on it replace the head gasket and not worry about it for the rest of the trucks life.
 

9723

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Best "insurance" you can ever buy is to get a AAA mebership. Especially in Texas. You can become a premium member right away and get up to a 200 mile tow with your membership.

I would pull the head and get a valve job done on it replace the head gasket and not worry about it for the rest of the trucks life.
I had triple a, but I couldn't keep them out of my mail box. They sent so much garbage to my PO Box, it was ridicules, and it took nearly a year and a half and my many BBB complaints to get them to stop. Almost 2 years after I stopped paying them. I don't do business with spamming companies, period.

...and considering I've had this truck since 2001 and I've only had it towed once....well do the math.

Any ideas on a machine shop you can ship to? I'm literally out in the middle of nowhere.



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Mark_88

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I would suggest getting the head magnaflux tested before working on it. If you have to ship the head you might as well get a second one if possible...or just source a rebuilt head after doiing the testing...and check for oil burning...

Shipping heads can get expensive...

From what you describe after the overheat, you are probably good for now though. I've overheated and cracked two heads on my 88 (and once on my 95 zuki) and both times the results were very noticeable. In some cases the symptoms may not show right away if the metal has been stressed but didn't crack...or you got extremely lucky and the cracks were like valve seal areas that are mostly covered...mine were not so nice...

Watch for oil smoke when you let off the gas...that is valve seals or valves generally...if it comes out just after startup and doesn't cease that is likely rings...or burgers...

If no smoke...again...lucky!
 

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Where on the head is the casting number?

Thanks!

I think I'll have to start looking for a rebuilt head.



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Mark_88

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Not sure where the casting number is...but when looking for a head try to stick with 96 and 97 because they, apparently, flow better than previous versions. The 2.5 heads from 98 will also work with your current fuel injection system (all bolt on) and if you happen to find a complete engine with low miles the 2.5 is a drop in swap.

My 96 has a 98 2.5 that the previous owner installed and drove for about five years. Just use the complete 2.3 fuel injection system...it was rated at 35-40 psi and the later ones were 65 psi...not sure if that affects the fuel injector function but best to use the older stuff unless you like playing with things like that.
 

9723

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No sign of burnt oil.

An engine swap would be nice and would make me do the clutch, but I need this truck for trips across Texas on a regular basis. I work a lot, so I'm a bit short on time.

I think just doing the head, makes the most sense....in my situation.

I work 400 miles from where I'm building a house. There I've also got a '92 F150 in good shape. I have one other road car, but it's a little '90 Integra, so I like taking the Ranger for getting lighter loads of materials. That old windsor is a gas hog.

Getting up the hills on I-10 means hitting the bottom at 85 to 87mph, or you end up in 4rth gear doing 68. In an 80 mph speed limit, people and truckers will try and drive right up your ace.

Napa has a head, we have one here....a bit expensive though.

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Dprocks100

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I picked up a rebuilt head on ebay last spring for $300. Just swapped the camshaft and rollers over from the old one. I was pretty happy with it.
 

Mark_88

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I picked up a rebuilt head on ebay last spring for $300. Just swapped the camshaft and rollers over from the old one. I was pretty happy with it.
That is actually a very good price. Mine have cost me between $450 and $500 but that included everything from buying a used head, having it tested, and having the work done by someone else.

I installed them both times (or was it three...can't remember). The last one I did last February in a non-heated garage with -20 C weather...well, I did heat it with tiny electric heaters just to take the chill off...but that one I did over two days because of the cold and the fact I didn't really have any place to go right away.

But, again, the swap can be done in a few hours complete...
 

9723

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That is actually a very good price. Mine have cost me between $450 and $500 but that included everything from buying a used head, having it tested, and having the work done by someone else.
Was that local or somewhere online? That's the problem I have, nothing local for machine shop work.

Right now I'm looking at napa, built by atk (complete and shipped to my local napa, which is the only auto store in town). One is $460 and the other $600. depending on what size studs on the thermostat housing.


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Mark_88

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that was local...sort of...about an hours drive each way but because I was doing work in the area it wasn't so bad. the shop that rebuilt it the last time was in the same town so I just removed it from the vehicle, took it to the shop and picked it up a week or so later when finished.

If you count the hours finding a head in a junkyard, doing all the other legwork to get it rebuilt, picking it up again later and running around to get all the stuff you need to do it completely...you're looking at an extra 4-10 hours depending...so what your time is worth can be deducted from the overall cost of just buying one rebuilt...as long as there is a guarantee I'd go with it...

If you have never done one of these...you need things other than the head that you can pick up beforehand if you want to slam dunk this...

10 TTY bolts (torque to yield) as the old bolts are not reuseable...
Head gasket set that should include all gaskets for intake/exhaust/and throttle body
Thermostat if you want to do that...
oil and coolant because there is a good chance that you will slosh some coolant into the oil or just because it is better to do them both...
Gasket goop for the thermostat gasket (the others don't need it afaik...haven't done FI head

Maybe other things but I can't think of any more right now...which is typical as I usually ended up making a few trips for this and that...or fixed something else that was not directly related to the swap...like changing the heater hoses just because they were old and I didn't want to risk another head meltdown.

If there are two different sized bolts or thermostat covers you can measure yours but I was not aware of any differences in that part...Maybe someone who is familiar with the 8 plug head swap can elaborate.

EDIT: I'm sure when all is said and done and depending on how much you pay for the head, you are looking at a repair cost between $500 and $800...this could sway things towards a complete engine swap because I've seen them available for a few hundred...if you don't remove the head just plop it down and bolt it up...almost...:) If you do all the work yourself including the clutch and slave and all that...could be less than just a head swap but you have the unknown of the engine condition...
 
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9723

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Thanks!

I didn't know about the bolts.

I've done a bit of searching, and not finding lots of parts builders. I thought there'd be more stuff I could find for this engine like a better intake and throttle body, but considering the nature of the 2.3, I guess I'm not surprised...not even a stage 1 cam.

I can find a billion things for my Integra.

I know there's a following, but must be for the six cylinder.
 

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Yes you will not find many things for the 2.3. Just no market for it. I think the dual plug and the emissions have something to do with it to.

ATK is a very good company and they stand by their work. We put a complete motor in my friends 94 2.3 and its still going strong after 12 years. He had a problem with the oil pan gasket not sealing right and they had it fixed under warranty the next day after he called them. Complete engine at that time was $1800.00 so not bad at all. You wont go wrong dealing with them


I did have the same problem with AAA years ago. Finally went into the office here and complained to the area manager. He called right when I was in the office and never got anything again but the magazine and a renewal notice. I do to hate getting all the junk mail especially when you are already buying something from them.

Bryan
 


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