Advice appreciated siezed engine after re installing rod caps

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2014: Advice appreciated siezed engine after re installing rod caps
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Kriegel Mishawaka Indiana on Saturday, April 26, 2014 - 06:46 pm:

Well I need advice on re installing rod caps
I have read the Ford Manual and read the good posts on MTFCA 2008 and 2009 on this job
In summary, I was working on a hard to start 1926 Roadster a year ago and discovered it had very low compression about 20 so it was so hard to start. I had already Replaced coils, new wiring new carb already so next was to measure the bore, and hopefully do a ring and valve job to fix this car
Bore was standard, pistons good but rings were shot with a huge gap in ring spacing
Did a valve lap, tested valve timing and springs reinstalled (oversize) rings so far so good.
Reinstalled caps (in correct order) with marks towards the cam
After I installed final number 1 cap engine seized. I was ill all winter and just getting back to it (6 months in wife’s garage)
Today finally I Have loosened 5 of 8 rod cap 5/8 inch nuts and put a jack under the engine crank with some acetone and atf fluid in the rings to slowly turn over engine to get to the final 2 nuts
Slowly turning over and will let it sit over night Need to move rods to get caps off
Will remove rod caps. Plastigage gap to 0.0015? then tighten one cap down at a time
Question, had a hard time, installing rod cap bolts last Fall in far enough to put in cotter pins. I assume this is abnormal. Did the original equipment use safety wire on the rod cap nuts / Thanks


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Kriegel Mishawaka Indiana on Saturday, April 26, 2014 - 07:01 pm:

Also where is a good place to buy a safety wire installation tool ? We used a neat pair of pliers in the navy that easily applied, wound, tightened and cut the wire. Are they called safety wire pliers ?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Norman T. Kling on Saturday, April 26, 2014 - 07:20 pm:

The rod bolts should be ground with a flat side which goes against the rod. If it is installed in a different direction, it will not go all the way down. That could be the reason why you could not get the cotter pins in. I have not heard of using safety wire in the rod nuts. They should be long enough to get the pin in, in fact they are usually too long because the caps have been filed down.

When you first tightened the engine, was it unusually hard to turn with only one rod tightened? You say you put in "oversize rings" The rings should be fitted to the bore with a recommended end gap for each of the three rings.
Top ring .003 center.005 bottom .008 Your package of rings might have different gap specifications, but if the gap is too small, the rings could cause the engine to sieze up.

A rebuilt engine is sometimes hard to turn with the crank or starter the first time you try to start it. It can be pulled by another vehicle until it starts up and after running a short time it will be easier to start in the future.

If the engine started after you put in the rings and tightened the bearings, and then after running it a while it siezed up, you might have a problem with too tight parts.

Another thing which will help when you tighten the rod bearings is to run the nuts down to the caps and then tap both sides of the cap to get the cap centered on the crankshaft before tightening all the way.

Good luck.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Tomaso - Milton,WA on Saturday, April 26, 2014 - 07:56 pm:

You are a-- backwards on your ring gap sequence, Norman - larger gap up top where all the heat is then close the gap as you go down away from combustion. Your gaps are a bit tight IMO - I set at .010 - 0.11 on top, .008 in the middle & .006 at the bottom.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Kriegel Mishawaka Indiana on Saturday, April 26, 2014 - 08:32 pm:

Steve and Norm I did make sure rings were in proper order top to bottom. Question, I compressed the ring then with a wire gauge checked gap offsetting the gaps so the did not line up. Did I make an error in that the rings are too tight as perhaps I did not compress the ring into the clean piston groove enough ? ?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kerry van Ekeren (Australia) on Saturday, April 26, 2014 - 08:55 pm:

David, if I'm reading your post correctly, you must check the ring gap with the ring square in the bore, not on the piston compressed.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Norman T. Kling on Saturday, April 26, 2014 - 08:58 pm:

Steve, I got those gaps from the MOdel T Ford book "Engine" If I am wrong, the compilers of the book are wrong.
Norm


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Strange on Saturday, April 26, 2014 - 08:59 pm:

Here's a short video on how to check ring gap:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ch5ahHGyLIM


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kerry van Ekeren (Australia) on Saturday, April 26, 2014 - 09:25 pm:

Norman, so be it, that Ford book is wrong!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hap Tucker in Sumter SC on Saturday, April 26, 2014 - 09:39 pm:

David,

I believe it would be helpful if you could answer the following questions.

As Norman hinted at -- please tell us if you ran the engine and then it seized or if you were working to install the new "oversize" piston rings and after you tightened up the last connecting rod cap -- number 1, then the engine would no longer easily turn over by hand?

Have you overhauled car engines or Model T or later Model A engines before, or is this your first one? [Not a right or wrong answer -- but to help us know your back ground better. ]

What else did you do to the engine? The tragic remark made by the patient to the doctor after the operation. Removing that kidney didn't hurt near as much as when they removed my first kidney. Sometimes knowing what was done previously is a great help.

Did you "pickle" the engine when you were no longer able to work on it? I.e. remove plugs, pour 1/4 quart of oil in cylinders, pour oil in crankcase, spray oil into valve chambers and replace covers, close off the intake and exhaust ports (the rubber expansion plugs in the plumbing isle of Home Depot work well for that).

Ts are very forgiving. When my Dad was just a young teenager back in the 1930s, his Dad’s Model T truck developed a knock in the engine. My Dad took up the bearings on his Dad’s Model T Truck. He removed all the shims from all the rods and the engine could not be turned over. He then went back in and replaced some of the shims and the Truck ran ok. Not bad for a young teenager who didn’t have a “Ford Service Book” or the MTFCA engine book etc. I’m sure you will get it sorted out.

Respectfully submitted,

Hap l9l5 cut off


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Redelman on Saturday, April 26, 2014 - 09:49 pm:

Hi David, did you check the cylinders for taper before setting the end gap's of the rings at the top of the cyl., also I have seen some engines that the caps were put on backwards and fitted that way when bearings were taken up in the old days (real honest shade tree mechanics) and if you didn't check before you removed them it could be the problem. These are just a few heads up as I have seen just about everything when opening an old T engine.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Kriegel Mishawaka Indiana on Sunday, April 27, 2014 - 11:14 am:

Thank you all for the advice. Here is some answers to your questions .

As Norman hinted at -- please tell us if you ran the engine and then it seized or if you were working to install the new "oversize" piston rings and after you tightened up the last connecting rod cap -- number 1, then the engine would no longer easily turn over by hand?

Answer, the engine has NOT run since I pulled the Pistons. It turned over easily by starter and hand crank PRIOR to my pulling the pistons.

Have you overhauled car engines or Model T or later Model A engines before, or is this your first one? [Not a right or wrong answer -- but to help us know your back ground better. ]
Answer first one. I have been a PARTS REPLACER on many many cars for 45 years but obviously have learned only by the forum and many books. No machine shop training.

What else did you do to the engine? The tragic remark made by the patient to the doctor after the operation. Removing that kidney didn't hurt near as much as when they removed my first kidney. Sometimes knowing what was done previously is a great help.
Only thing, pulled head, removed pistons, measured TOP 2 inches of cylinder with a bore gauge, broke the glaze on the cylinder walls, installed rings (right side up and in correct order) “thought” I checked ring gap so it was not too tight, reinstalled rod caps

Did you "pickle" the engine when you were no longer able to work on it? I.e. remove plugs, pour 1/4 quart of oil in cylinders, pour oil in crankcase, spray oil into valve chambers and replace covers, close off the intake and exhaust ports (the rubber expansion plugs in the plumbing isle of Home Depot work well for that).
Answer NO, head remained off, poured light oil in top of cylinders, rubbed light grease on cylinder walls above pistons. I could barely walk with a walker and Son put the car in the garage for the winter

TODAY after 24 hours of the jack forcing the crank starter handle up the pistons have moved about 1.4 inch I am going to remove the force on the hand crank for safety, and attempt to remove two pistons as two of the rod cap nuts are difficult to reach. After removing the 2 pistons, hopefully I can rotate the engine, remove the other two pistons, then, A. check the bore of EACH cylinder the entire length of the cylinder, and check the ring gap to see if the over size rings are the source of the friction.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Gregush Portland Oregon on Sunday, April 27, 2014 - 11:55 am:

Unless the crank has been reground, it could be out of round and going with the .0015 might be to tight. Go into the kitchen and get a piece of house hold aluminum foil. Cut a piece about 3 X 1 inch. fold it over to make a sandwich 3 layer thick about 1 inch square (works out about .0015 +/-). Use that to check your rods, if the crank can be turned easily it's too loose, if it can't turn it's too tight. If it can be turned with some drag it's about right.
Depending on the age of the Plastigage, how dry or wet the surface is and the babbett used in the bearings has a lot to do with the readings you get with it. With an insert bearing that has a hard shell and a thin layer of babbett Plastigage works better, in old babbett it wants to imbed and not spread out as well as it should.
Those are my findings, plus the aluminum foil is cheaper.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Kriegel Mishawaka Indiana on Sunday, April 27, 2014 - 12:20 pm:

Excellent advice Mark thank you
These forum answers will be so helpful to someone else years from now


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kohnke Rebabbitting on Sunday, April 27, 2014 - 02:13 pm:

The only reason that Plastigage will embed on tin, or even lead base babbitt is if you try to use it on a dry shaft.

You have to use at least a couple drops of oil, or when it is compressed it will dig in to the babbitt rather then spread out the way it should.

Oil should be also used on thin inserts.

We have always set our ring gap at=

Top--.015

Middle---.012

Bottom---.010


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hap Tucker in Sumter SC on Sunday, April 27, 2014 - 09:14 pm:

David,

Thank you for the additional information and the e-mail pointing me back to the thread. First, since you did NOT start or run the engine after putting the piston rings and taking up some of the clearance in the bearings – I don’t think you have done any major damage to the engine. As mentioned above it could be several things.

Based on what you said so far – and realizing that what we type is not always what we meant to type – you shared in the beginning:

Bore was standard, pistons good but rings were shot with a huge gap in ring spacing. What type of pistons does your engine have? Replacement Aluminum or original cast iron? Did you purchase the rings for the type of piston you have? And did they look correct – i.e. seem to fit the groove of the piston etc. without the groove in the piston being a lot wider etc.?

“Reinstalled caps (in correct order) with marks towards the cam.” As Steve mentioned – sometimes folks in the past have mixed/matched/and/or turned the rod caps around. Did you ensure that put the pistons back in the same cylinder in the same direction they were originally installed, and with the rod caps attached to the same connecting rod in the same position it had previously been? Also how did your check the clearance on the rod bearings last time?

You shared, “After I installed final number 1 cap engine seized.” If it turned over until you installed the number 1 rod cap and it would not turn over after you installed it – that would be the first place I would recommend to check. And if you tightened the number 1 rod cap and you have only moved the piston 1 1/4 inches, I would think the rod nuts are still accessible. If not – if you put the car in gear and back it up just a little would that make them accessible? Also – Sears etc. makes some great sockets, swivels, breaker bars etc. that can get into some tight places. I would NOT recommend trying to use a “crows foot” to loosen a rod nut but you can often times find a combination of 3/8 or 1/2 inch sockets, swivels, and extensions (a pipe makes a great extension on a breaker bar – as a kid I had lots of problems getting the nuts free – but with a two foot pipe over the breaker bar – I could produce a lot more torque).

And the though occurred to me – did you put a lubricant on the rod bearing before you tightened the nuts down? They make some lubricants that are designed for rebuilt engines as well as the old reliable STP [that will get some comments]. Did you assemble them dry or lubricated?

I’m sure you will have it turning over – again soon. And after that have it started and running. Your plan above should work. And please keep us posted on what you discover. That is one of the ways we learn – from what others share that worked or didn’t work.

Respectfully submitted,

Hap l9l5 cut off

P.S. We need to find out why the MTFCA Engine book has those very small recommended gaps for the piston rings. From all I have seen that is too small a gap. The MAFCA for the Model A Ford which has slightly larger pistons (4 inch) recommends:

Top ring gap: 012 to .015
Middle .010 to .012
bottom .008 to .010

Respectfully submitted,

Hap l9l5 cut off


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Leonard J Evansic on Sunday, April 27, 2014 - 10:55 pm:

In your initial post, you said the bore was standard, and the rings were shot. How long have you owned this T? It seems somebody slapped this engine together with a bunch of junk parts somewhere along the line before you got it and possibly adjusted the rod clearance by loosening the rod bolts and wiring them when turned
on the crankshaft. If the bore not oversize that is amazing. I would recheck the bore and your measuring instrument to make sure your numbers are correct. The gap in the rings tell me that that was the gap when the engine was assembled. Again some shade tree mechanic who put this engine together did not know anything about engines.
The best rings I've found are the overlapping type found on some old engines, Glass beaded rings on glass beaded cast iron pistons is the way I went on my engine with heavy rods. It is a 15 and after slightly honing the bores, only .005 over.
I would seriously consider removing your engine and checking it out. There is no telling what else you will find.---Len


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Kriegel Mishawaka Indiana on Tuesday, April 29, 2014 - 07:53 am:

Thanks Leonard. Will re check measurements. I brought this car up from Florida two years ago where it had sat for at least 15 years unused. Started work on it then had to stop due to illness for a year. check. I claim to be a careful clean shade tree mechanic self taught with no formal training for 40 plus years. I have made about every error you can make over the years but try not to make the same error twice. I would say I am a conscientious parts replacer but have fun getting a car running that has been sitting for decades . I do not spare money or time and get the job done according the the books and you tube videos on how to.
Well I love working on these Fords. It is very satisfying to hear those coils buzz and a repaired engine start. It is cold and rainy here but out I go. I removed two Pistons. I was surprised by how tight they were in the bore, requiring a wooden dowel and hammer from beneath to slowly tap them out. (seems like very strong hydraulic pressure as perhaps too much preservation oil had seeped between the rings) My plan is to clean everything up (pistons and bore) remeasure everything, re hone the cylinders. Then one at a time place the rings off the pistons in the top of the bore to check the ring gap. If everything checks in specifications install the pistons MINUS rings as a source of friction and start on the connecting rods. If the engine turns over easy with the connecting rods installed, go back, install rings one piston at a time, to see if the problem reoccurs. Be very careful on ring proper position.

Question, do you all use a light grease or oil coating on the piston walls to prevent damage on initial start up?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By A. J. "Art" Bell on Tuesday, April 29, 2014 - 08:18 am:

“Then one at a time place the rings off the pistons in the top of the bore to check the ring gap”


That assumes that the cylinder has been rebored or at least
has no taper. I was taught at an early age to use a ringless
piston and rod assembly as a tool to guide each ring down
(squarely) to the depth the ring would go to at the bottom
of the piston stroke as when the engine was running, and
then measure it’s gap at that position.
Use care of course in case there is no or negative gap at
that depth.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Kriegel Mishawaka Indiana on Tuesday, April 29, 2014 - 08:32 am:

Thanks Art great advice Just came inside to warm up and another 2 cups of coffee


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Leonard J Evansic on Tuesday, April 29, 2014 - 08:43 am:

A good lube to use is" Permatex Ultra Slick engine assembly lube". It's carried by most auto parts stores in 4 OZ bottles. Its sticky as pancake syrup. Keep us posted.--Len


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Norman T. Kling on Tuesday, April 29, 2014 - 09:27 am:

I use the same oil I use in the engine when the car is running. Of course, I start the engine as soon as everything is in the car and bolted down. I also put a teaspoon or so of oil in each spark plug hole and rotate the engine before I put the plugs in and start the engine.

If one were to "rebuild" an engine and then let it set for a long time before starting, a special lubricant might be better if it sticks to the parts.

The problem I have heard that others encountered was because of the splash type oil system anything thick will prevent the oil from entering the bearings, so don't use anything other than oil on the bearings. I was told by an old time mechanic, that the best thing to do when starting a T engine for the first time is to run it about one minute and then turn it off and wait a while before re-starting. The theory here is to get some oil into the oil lines and then let it run down into the crankcase. And also any tight parts will not overheat. Of course, there should already be oil in the dips and in the transmission if you pour some of the oil into the oil filler and some over the transmission drums.
Norm


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Kriegel Mishawaka Indiana on Tuesday, April 29, 2014 - 05:46 pm:

Well an update for all and thanks again for all the advice. As noted, tracking down the problem individually. After pulling the pistons (very very tight) I had a machinist friend recheck my bore measurements. The bores seem to be standard with little or no deformities as you go up and down the cylinder. They all measure close to 3.752

Big error number one measure twice. I had measured the cylinders slightly oversize and had ordered over size piston rings

Using the advice of you all, I believe i made my big error of setting the ring gaps near the top of each cylinder. Using your advice, I used each clean piston matched to its cylinder to push the oil ring down where it would be in the middle and bottom of the stroke. Result, they were way too tight even difficult to rock and walk out of the cylinder.

I spent a few hours carefully setting each ring matched to each cylinder for the proper gaps. Hopefully what I observed was the oil (bottom) ring was a real tight drag on each piston.

Tomorrow set each rod cap individually without piston rings installed. After that install rings and pistons. Thanks again


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bob McDonald-Federal Way, Wa. on Tuesday, April 29, 2014 - 06:53 pm:

You might want to order Std. size rings not over sized and all might be ok. Just a thought, I'm not a machinist.

Bob


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Norman T. Kling on Tuesday, April 29, 2014 - 08:59 pm:

I think your rings will be alright if you file the gap to the correct clearance. Since the rings now fit tightly into the cylinder, they will compress enough to fit fine if you increase the gap.
Norm


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Menzies on Thursday, May 01, 2014 - 11:32 pm:

Be assured that all the carbon is out of the ring groves. There is a proper tool to remove the carbon David M


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By James Michael Rogers on Friday, May 02, 2014 - 06:11 am:

One thing I do, no matter what engine I work on be it A/T or V8, I rotate the engine after each piston assembly is installed. This lets me know I have installed the assembly correctly and if there is a problem, I know where it is.


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