The frustration of incompetence

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Steve Jelf
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The frustration of incompetence

Post by Steve Jelf » Tue Mar 17, 2020 2:04 pm

I thought I was following the book, but obviously not. Starting the 1915 was iffy at best, requiring lots of choking and crank pulling with a wheel off the floor. Compression tests got 36, 20, 13, 16. Squirting oil in the cylinders changed those readings to 20?!?, 32, 18, 26. I pulled the head and had it machined absolutely flat. I thought I lapped the valves correctly. The results, or lack of results, say otherwise. I reinstalled the head, I think with plenty of copper coat, put on the manifolds, carburetor, etc., and tried starting. I ran it briefly. It was still a harder start than it should have been, but it ran, although not very well. After a warmup I retorqued the head bolts to 55 ftlb. I started the car and ran it briefly a couple of times, then went about other things. Yesterday I tried starting again. With lots of crank pulling I got a chuff or two, but mostly nothing at all. This morning I pulled the plugs and did more compression testing. I tried two different testers with similar results. With the first one the readings were 22, 28, 18, 15. The second gauge showed 18, 20, 18, 15. Eight squirts of oil in each cylinder caused the second tester to show 35, 28, 28, 38. I put the plugs back in and tried a start. I got one chuff and a puff of blue smoke from the back of the exhaust manifold. I can't even install manifolds correctly. At this point I have no confidence that I'll ever get it right. I'm ready to pull the engine and take it to somebody who knows what he's doing. Chester A. Riley had it right. What a revoltin' development this is. I'm going to work on something else and cool down.
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Rich Eagle
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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Rich Eagle » Tue Mar 17, 2020 2:25 pm

Congratulations Steve and welcome to the club. I have been enjoying the pursuit of incompetence for 57 years with respect to old cars. I must say I prefer my own to that of others. A pinnacle has been reached in my shop.
Rich
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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Adam » Tue Mar 17, 2020 2:31 pm

With those compression readings it would likely start hard and run poorly at best. Compression can get down around 35 and so long as all cylinders are about even, you can still start & drive, but it will noticeably lack power and run smoky. Much below 35 and you have noticeable oil burning, carbon buildup, frequent spark plug issues. More than 5% to 7% difference in compression between the best and worst cylinder can be an indication of individual cylinder issues. Just to look at your numbers I would think you have valve sealing or valve timing issues. In fact, those numbers are so bad I would even chance the question, “Did you put all the valve keeper pins in?”


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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by tdump » Tue Mar 17, 2020 2:36 pm

You still have a valve issue of some sort,if it was rings, those middle readings would change a bit more with oil.
Another thing, Your gauges could be messed up.Are you useing a screw in gauge or a gauge that is pushed into the plug hole and held in place while cranking?
If I remember correctly,didn't you have Mike Bender there recently working on it? Good gosh,that is kinda like having Thomas edison stop in to chat and offer to help you install a light bulb.If it aint right when he got done with it, you might want to See if you can find a ghost whisperer and ask Henry!
Last edited by tdump on Tue Mar 17, 2020 2:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Scott_Conger » Tue Mar 17, 2020 2:41 pm

You know, in the 1830's Joseph Whitworth created the three plate method to create a perfectly flat surface plate from nothing, by lapping them to each other...

In the 1910's mechanics invented the "lower the seat hopelessly into the block using a single valve" lapping method. I've always been a fan of new valves, (reground again and handled with care) and mechanically cut seats in the block, using a Neway cutter. If not careful in choosing the correct pilot, a bad job can be done very easily and quickly. Fortunately with care a great job can be done in only a little more time.

No lapping for me, thank you.

Sorry to hear about your troubles... :(
Last edited by Scott_Conger on Tue Mar 17, 2020 4:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Steve Jelf » Tue Mar 17, 2020 3:08 pm

I would even chance the question, “Did you put all the valve keeper pins in?”

Yes, at least I got that right. :(
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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Jim Sims » Tue Mar 17, 2020 3:22 pm

The test with oil shows a problem with rings. Tow start it and let it run a long time not letting it get overly hot.

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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Tim Rogers » Tue Mar 17, 2020 3:33 pm

WARNING!- this is going to sound crazy to most folks...

I know that virtually everyone sings the praises of using copper coat on the head gasket but I wonder if it is really necessary in your case and perhaps it's doing more harm than good? The rule of thumb I was brought up on was that gaskets go on dry. Think about it- your head was machined so the gasket should seal perfectly to it. An excess layer of liquid applied all over the gasket may be preventing a good seal.

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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Art Wilson » Tue Mar 17, 2020 4:01 pm

Steve,
If you haven't already, Try adding compressed air through the spark plug holes. That may help in determining where the compression pressure is escaping.

Another thing to help identify the problem is to look at what has changed since it was running well. Doing this is not easy and requires lots of thought.

Here's a story on one of my experiences.
A number of years ago, shortly after I learned about the "what-changed" process, a friend had a large truck in which he had installed a big diesel engine and transmission. After driving it for several months, he couldn't get the truck to go into reverse. With my newly acquired knowledge, I asked him what had changed. He said nothing had changed and that he was looking at the linkage to see if it had bent or moved. The next day, he called to tell me what he found. He had gone to the auto parts store to get filters and remembered that he had not installed a filler plug in the transmission and bought one. The transmission had the plastic fill cover on it from since he installed it, and the transmission was shifting fine. The new plug that he installed was too long and protruded into the transmission case far enough to keep the reverse gear from engaging.

So when considering the "what-changed process", even the smallest thing, such as wiping off an oil spill, needs to be considered. Definitely not easy to do.

Art

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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Steve Jelf » Tue Mar 17, 2020 4:09 pm

Your gauges could be messed up. Are you using a screw in gauge or a gauge that is pushed into the plug hole and held in place while cranking?

Screw-in, good and tight. Wondering about the accuracy, I screwed it into the spark plug tester and checked it with the regulator.
IMG_4984 copy.JPG
Setting the regulator at 40 psi, the tester shows 40 psi.

IMG_4985 copy.JPG
Setting the regulator at 50 psi sends the tester to 501/2 psi. All those bad numbers were real.
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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by tdump » Tue Mar 17, 2020 4:19 pm

Well that rules out bad tools,scratch that off the flow chart
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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Ruxstel24 » Tue Mar 17, 2020 4:29 pm

I’m with Art....TDC on compression stroke, hold engine from turning and blow air into respective cylinders. Air should be escaping somewhere, crankcase, intake or exhaust. If not, I would be double checking valve timing.

It’s a Model T, it can’t be that bad. :D


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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Mustang1964s » Tue Mar 17, 2020 4:32 pm

If all fails go back to the basics.
1) fire/spark
2) fuel
3) compression

Number one run about getting out of a hole is to quite digging.


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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Scott_Conger » Tue Mar 17, 2020 4:40 pm

Steve

at TDC compression, do a leak down test and listen to intake, exhaust, crankcase, for sounds of air escaping. One test each for all 4 cylinders. You will find the source of non-sealing pretty quickly with no guessing. Have the car in gear, wheels chocked, throttle open, and don't use too much pressure. This is a simple, gross test which will lead you to the correct source(s).
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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Steve Jelf » Tue Mar 17, 2020 4:43 pm

If all fails go back to the basics.
1) fire/spark
2) fuel
3) compression

The tester says it's compression. :(
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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Steve Jelf » Tue Mar 17, 2020 4:52 pm

don't use too much pressure.

I haven't done this before.10 psi enough, or more?
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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Ruxstel24 » Tue Mar 17, 2020 5:08 pm

Steve Jelf wrote:
Tue Mar 17, 2020 4:52 pm
don't use too much pressure.

I haven't done this before.10 psi enough, or more?
No I would use 60-80psi. Just make sure the valves are closed and the engine can’t turn over.
A little air from the crankcase is normal, but virtually none should go past the valves.


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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by 2nighthawks » Tue Mar 17, 2020 5:48 pm

Steve - Whew! There's sure a lot to read here, and I probably have not read as completely and carefully as I should, so probably shouldn't comment at all,....but you know me well enough to know that I probably should just keep quiet and let those (and there are many) that know T's a whole lot better than I do. However, having said that, I'll do it anyway,....stick my nose in where it really doesn't belong. But just take this as a sort of BS session that you and I might have had we both met again at Chickasha and were chatting over a cuppa' coffee.

I almost commented awhile back when you wrote about and showed photos of your recent valve work. Far be it for me to ( criticize...SP?) when you're a far better mechanic than me, however, while the old fashioned valve lapping procedures worked okay back in the day, and probably still will work "okay", I'm honestly a big believer in the more modern "3-angle" valve job with carbide valve seat cutters. Having said that, I'm sure your valve work is certainly sufficient to preclude the possibility that the valves are leaking so badly as to cause the hard starting and poor running.

I think you're doing the right thing by stepping back for a time, and after "cooling off" going back to it later. In just thinking about how I would proceed at that time if it were me,....here are my thoughts, which are probably not worth much, however, "FWIW".....

While the air pressure method described above is probably best, I think a thoroughly done, in the right order, wet & dry compression test is very adequate to determine either worn rings/cylinders or leaking valves to be the low compression problem. Results of the wet/dry compression test should be conclusive, however, if not, it just might be that you are dealing with a worn out camshaft. Forgive me if I might have missed the possibility that you might have installed a new or reground camshaft, however, not to say that even a new or reground camshaft might be the problem. I'm sure Mike Bender would not have missed something like a defective (for whatever reason) camshaft.

Having said all that, I can only think that if the cylinders are perfectly round and not tapered, and the rings are sealing, and the valves are sealing after your valve work, and if the valves are opening (far enough) and at the right time, I can't think what else I would check that could account for the low compression. Hmmm.......valves opening far enough and AT THE RIGHT TIME,......timing gear improperly drilled, or timing marks stamped on the wrong place during manufacturing? Far-fetched I guess, but SOMETHING'S wrong, right?

Taking a break is the right move right now Steve, and try not to get too frustrated, but hang in there, because you'll find it,.......o.k......useless "rambling's" over with now,......harold


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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by got10carz » Tue Mar 17, 2020 6:11 pm

Has anyone mentioned loose valve guides?


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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by bulman » Tue Mar 17, 2020 7:13 pm

sounds like cam timing to me.


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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by John kuehn » Tue Mar 17, 2020 9:38 pm

I can remember a line in one of Floyd Clymers book that said” when things get blue in the garage let it go and come back another day.” Good advice that’s been around a LONG time.


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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Scott_Conger » Tue Mar 17, 2020 9:47 pm

Dave Hanlon

somehow I missed your post the first time...if I had seen it I would not have repeated your advice. Once is enough, and it is good advice.

Steve

looking back on another thread it looks like I spy you using a Neway cutter prior to Clover compound. Lapping is not necessary and may even be injurious to a freshly-cut seat. FYI.
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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Charlie B in N.J. » Tue Mar 17, 2020 10:16 pm

Gotta tell you when those #'s went up with oil added I got a bad feeling in my stomach.You know what I mean too. The horse is long out of the barn but this is what comes from ripping the head off before doing any testing. Even comp testing the 2 good cyls you originally had left when the gasket went would have given you an indication of the engines condition. And all this after perpetual hard starting before the head gasket blew and after you knocked yourself out checking and eliminatng everything else. Except compression. As to the air testing: air is going to leak past the rings especially on a cold engine. Absolutely no doubt about it. You might get some past the valves but since you just did them they might not be properly seated yet anyway.You'll learn very little from that.
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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by AndreFordT » Tue Mar 17, 2020 11:10 pm

Steve,

It is frustrating but surly not incompetence. It is just bad luck.
Just sit down take a beer or two or three and change your mind on something else for a while and start all over again.

Two weeks ago I started to swap the oil pan of the 1915 touring with the bent nose from the accident about a year ago.
What I found is to hard to tell but what should be an easy oil pan swap became a total overhaul with about $1,000.- parts only.
It was frustrating and bad luck. I set it away for a few days ( the time to get the parts here) and started all over by cleaning every part piece by piece and found other parts to be changed.

Just a suggestion: set it back for a few days clear your mind and start all over again by taking the engine out and take it all apart, clean it and look for everything that could be wrong.

Good Luck.

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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by TRZim » Tue Mar 17, 2020 11:36 pm

Have your taken your timer off recently and replace or cleaned the bruch or roller. Easy to get timing 180 degrees off.


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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by jab35 » Wed Mar 18, 2020 12:55 am

Your compression test saga/story is similar to this one written in 2012 by Bill Stephan. (There's much more info in the link.) How wide is the 'circle' of contact between the valve and the seat? With all the soot you've likely got in there, a wide contact surface is prone to fouling with resulting leakage. If you've already looked into all this stuff, I apologize for repeating. Good luck, jb

http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/25 ... 1325953529

By Bill Stephan on Friday, January 06, 2012 - 01:24 pm:
So the other day, I finished putting my top end together, New valves (1/64 os) adjustable lifters (1/64) new springs keepers and pins. Lapped the valves and everything looked 100%!! Set the lifter clearance at .022"
Did a compression test and the numbers were 5-35-15-10 not too good. I pulled it all back today to see whats what... Ive blue checked several and so far all Ive noticed is about a 25% contact by pushing down with my finger. If I give it a tap with a piece of brass, I can feel the valve settle down into the seat another .010" and make 100% contact. The valve then needs to be popped back off the seat with my knife under the stem. The cylinder that showed 35 psi doesnt do this. I tap on it to seat the bluing and the stem twists right back up and out.
I think I am gonna try swapping valves around... any other ideas??? ws


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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Scott C. » Wed Mar 18, 2020 1:17 am

Steve, I looked back through your posts and I do not see any mention of what your valve lash is? When you lapped them, did you blue them up and look at the valve and seat to see what the contact area looked like to confirm full around contact?


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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by RxGPoblet » Wed Mar 18, 2020 8:15 pm

Weak valve springs? Just a thought.


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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Jim Sims » Thu Mar 19, 2020 9:34 am

I still say" it is a problem with your rings". Nothing else suggested would change between a dry compression test and a wet test with oil. Think about it. Stuck rings, broken rings or worn out rings.


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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Scott_Conger » Thu Mar 19, 2020 10:55 am

Well we know you likely have:

broken rings or
worn rings or
bad valves or
worn guides or
timer roller out 180 degrees or
weak valve springs or
wrong valve lash or
sealant on the head gasket is keeping it from sealing

And we also know:

that it would be a good idea to do a leak down test and
that it would be a waste of time to do a leak down test, as it would be worthless

Evidence presented indicates that this can't be fixed and should be sold
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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Ruxstel24 » Thu Mar 19, 2020 11:42 am

I’ll give you $6 for it !! :lol:

You’re a treasure Scott ! :D


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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Rich Bingham » Thu Mar 19, 2020 11:43 am

:lol: let’s start this !! Opening bid ?? Anyone ? Anyone ?? Bueller ? :lol:
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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by DHort » Thu Mar 19, 2020 12:12 pm

Steve is a friend. I will give you $20.

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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Quickm007 » Thu Mar 19, 2020 1:44 pm

Steve,

The chalenge you face-up will help other folks like us to resolve a similar issue in future. I'm really impatient to know what is the cause and the solution. Scott is a master making a good résumé of all different options you may have... I'm in for $20 .
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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by George Mills » Thu Mar 19, 2020 2:21 pm

Steve,

With all due respect, take a break and breath slowly.

I'll share a personal saga as there is a point in there somewhere. I just can't tell an anecdote without writing an epistle!

I've been a roadside master Model T mechanic for going on 50 years now, I reckin'. Only once in my life did I need vulture wagon and later analysis put that problem 100% on me. (I had turned in the clutch fingers an additional turn for good measure for some unfathomable reason and on the first hill that clutch locked up in high tighter than a drum!) I might have gotten it roadside, but that was one of the first Elgin road race re-creations and it was coming on banquet time and I wanted to get home and back. In fact, I was heading home to change and one fellow member arranged for a roustabout crew of roughnecks to get me home. In my troubleshooting later, I backed off the clutch fingers that turn, installed those cotters, and that engine is still that way today with both low n high! Over the years I took delight on learning and paying forward by helping others get theirs home without need for a vulture truck.

Then I shattered my kneecap in 50 places and at the same time had already arranged to move one of my T's to Florida so I'd have T's at both places. Between immobilization for months, then learning to walk again from scratch, and the Florida hot days in the garage...the car sat forever and stupid me got it fired up and learned how to drive it getting in and out with only one good and reliable leg. All set for a weekend muster up I dumped in a couple of additional gallons of Florida fuel atop what was stabl'd New Jersey fuel and....didn't make it a mile! Because of the muster...no one was willing to help so I was on my own and couldn't get under the car! Vulture wagon from AAA and it was back in the garage. It sat...really sat...disgusted with it and then I did some work and the fuel system had black goo! So I figured just slosh all that crap into the next universe, rebuild the carb, rifle rod the fuel line and hey...good to go, right? NOT. Couldn't start that thing to save my butt!

I became disillusioned for a bit but still took modern iron to car meets to roam and chat. One guy who Scott C knows well and who lives in N. Reddington beach took pity on me and called one day and offered to stop by.

Took him 15 minutes and he said it was a stuck valve! I said, Nahhhhhhhhh.... He went on to prove it to me relatively quickly (he had apparently had a similar issue on his 27 a while back). Cylinder #1 came through fine. Cylinder #2 would not pass the thumb test on the spark plug hole at max compression...no poof! He told me to get top dead center on #2 at the top of the ignition stroke and he looked and prodded and declared, yup...a valve was actually floating open and not closing. Let's hope it isn't the keeper he said!

He then used a drift and/or screwdriver, and tapped that valve hoping to seat. Dumped in some Kroil or the like and tried again. Itthen popped down. Turn it thru again, still hung...he'd tap it down again. We did this maybe 10 times and I was willing to give up but he said, 'Yo, we're gaining on it!' and maybe 2 times later it following the cam rotation perfectly! Hooked up the plugs, gave it a whirl, it roared to life! We took it for a ride and he commented how nice and smooth it drove. Nick Miller of Sun Coast T's is now my hero :)

I share the story because it could be that simple and as to the low compression, my own experience is that as long as there is some compression/any compression and you pass the fuel and ignition part strong...it'll eventually start and run. Maybe not have any guts behind it, but it will idle!

Good luck...you'll get it.


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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Scott_Conger » Thu Mar 19, 2020 2:27 pm

George

that was a nice shout out to Nick...a very nice guy
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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Tim Rogers » Thu Mar 19, 2020 3:35 pm

I'm surprised this hasn't been one of the recommendations...

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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by aDave » Thu Mar 19, 2020 4:06 pm

I'll bid $30.00 for Steve....his pictures are worth more than that, and the effort he puts into describing hois travails...and the responses that his words elicit are PRICELESS!

Dave


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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by modeltbarn » Thu Mar 19, 2020 4:21 pm

Check your rotor! If your cam is drilled all the way through you can easily put it on backwards.


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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Billdizer,Spencer In » Thu Mar 19, 2020 9:06 pm

Steve, is this the fresh engine you just had the crank changed in? To me, it sounds like the cam gear is a tooth off or two.
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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Joe Reid » Thu Mar 19, 2020 10:59 pm

A valve seat should be cut at two different angles, 44 degrees and 45 degrees and the face of the valve should contact about a thin dime. Valves repeatedly lapped have too wide a surface contact. The valve guide also tends to get out of round. Are you experiencing backfiring? I would swear by Sioux Valve grinding equipment. Did you replace pistons when the new crank was installed? I’m working on an A now with a friend and measurement is the key.

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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by REHelgeson » Fri Mar 20, 2020 10:00 am

If I remember correctly you lost a freeze plug and dropped most if not all of your coolant on your way home from the OCF. I would suggest removing one of the pistons and checking the rings and bore of the cylinder. Maybe checking for cracks while you are in there. Keep us posted on your progress.

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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by aDave » Sat Mar 21, 2020 10:42 am

Hi Steve...

I see that you are now online...any update on your situation? Dave

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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Tim Rogers » Sat Mar 21, 2020 11:42 am

aDave wrote:
Sat Mar 21, 2020 10:42 am
Hi Steve...

I see that you are now online...any update on your situation? Dave
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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Steve Jelf » Sat Mar 21, 2020 12:42 pm

For a few days I've been taking a vacation from working on the car. Soon I'll turn on the air and do the leak-down test.

The coolant loss may have done some damage, or not, as I have no idea if it happened just before I discovered it in the parking lot or sometime the day before. If it had any effect it was to make matters worse, because the hard starting and lack of guts began before that.
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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by fschrope » Sat Mar 21, 2020 2:15 pm

Just a quick thought:

Maybe 40 years ago, I had a 6000 Ford farm tractor. My son got it hot, but no hot enough to hurt anything - we/I thought. It turns out that it got hot enough to draw the temper out of the rings, but not enough to crack anything or score the cylinder walls. I had the same thing coming up Black Mountain on I 40 in North Carolina with a 318 Detroit Diesel. Collapsed rings, but didn't hurt anything else.

Could the same happen to a Model T? Beats me.

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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by aDave » Sat Mar 21, 2020 2:20 pm

Good Luck Steve - thanks for the update1

I hope that it is not too serious...(may be selfish of me, but I do not wish to have you take so much time repairing things that you don't have time for your pictorial explanations.

Dave

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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Charlie B in N.J. » Sat Mar 21, 2020 3:04 pm

Read the wet/dry comp test results; Rings. It's rings. It's the only thing he didn't check through the hard starting situation. It's very simple guys. Very very simple. Compression that low in and engine with compression that should average say 55 Lbs = hard starting. It's why I always check T compression on a cold engine. That's what the conditions will be when first starting up.
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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Aarongriffey » Sat Mar 21, 2020 4:09 pm

A rotor on 180 degrees off won’t make the compression low, and it will never run that wat way.
I’d make sure all the valves have at least .010” clearance, although .008 would be ok.
Stale gas can make an engine hard to star and run crappy.
Take the plugs out and watch the spark jump while spinning the engine with the starter or hand crank.
But you have a compression problem.


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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Aarongriffey » Sat Mar 21, 2020 4:18 pm

With number one prison at top center wen you hand turn the enginback and forth slightly or rock it back and forth in high pedal , the valves on either number one or number four must start to open and close, depending on which cylinder is on the fire stroke. That will tell you if the cam is in time with the crank.


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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Aarongriffey » Sat Mar 21, 2020 4:23 pm

With number one piston, not prison.
With that much variation in compression it probably is not cam timing.


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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Scott_Conger » Sat Mar 21, 2020 6:01 pm

doing a compression test dry, then squirting oil into each cylinder will indicate whether or not the rings are perfect. It will not indicate relative wear, discern between worn or broken rings, nor account for the cumulative effect of several or many faults that an engine may have.

a vacuum gauge and proper diagnosis on an engine once coaxed to life will detect:

a problem with rings
a sticking valve
burnt or leaking valve(s)
loose valve guides
late valve timing
late ignition timing
leaking intake manifold
blown headgasket between cylinders
choked muffler

It is a very versatile test, but is not widely used or understood these days. One of the few guesses posited that it will not detect is a timer mistimed by 180 degrees
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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by tdump » Sat Mar 21, 2020 7:54 pm

Steve you must have alot more patience than me.That engine would be in it's smallest parts until I found the issue if it was doing that to me.I know,it is better to walk away a day or so,but this long,Nope,I would have torn that thing down today!
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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Tractordoc » Sat Mar 21, 2020 8:14 pm

Scott might have something there with the choked muffler. I don't remember if you tried it with the muffler off. Worth a try I've had plugged exhaust cause all kinds of weird problems. Good luck and keep us posted. George

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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Quickm007 » Tue Mar 31, 2020 1:19 pm

Hey Steve,

Any update of thesituation. I'm impatient to know the happy ending.
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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by KeithG » Tue Mar 31, 2020 1:32 pm

Steve, we're all sitting here on the edge of our seats waiting for this mystery to unfold...... It's like a thriller at the movie house!

Could you please give us an update? :) We can hardly wait.

Thanks,

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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Steve Jelf » Tue Mar 31, 2020 10:25 pm

No news is no news. Saturday was windy, as sometimes happens in Kansas, and a strong gust caught the south door of my shop and wrecked it, and I do mean wrecked. For now it's bolted back in the frame and I'm using the north (back) door. Before I replace the door I'm building a porch roof that will keep the rain off it. I've poured the footings for the poles, and lumber will be delivered tomorrow. I hope to get the project done this week and then get back to Model T work.

IMG_4013.JPG
The roof will cover the big garage door so rain doesn't blow into the shop, and will keep rain from weakening the small door as well.
The inevitable often happens.
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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by KeithG » Wed Apr 01, 2020 12:24 am

Hi Steve, Thanks for the update, even though there's been no recent progress. It's good to know that thinks are ok for the time being and that you'll get to it when your more immediate projects are done. In the meantime, we're still interested in this mystery of yours and will be patiently waiting for the news.
Thanks,
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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Kevin Pharis » Wed Apr 01, 2020 12:29 am

So I have been watching this thread grow in popularity since your original post, and I finally read thru the whole thing. There are a number of good suggestions, a few good stories, and a little bit of thread drift. So I’m going to do my best to keep on topic...

You already identified your hard starting issue... low compression. But what’s causing the low compression...?

Is the head gasket sealing? Yes! A couple times you report the same compression readings after swapping the gasket and surfacing. This is an easy one to get right too

Are the rings sealing? Arguably they are leaking as shown by the wet compression test... but are they leaking too much? I don’t think so. You had the head off to change the gasket, my guess is that you would have noticed an 1/8” of ring gap...?

Is the cam out of time? Easy to check with the timing cover off... not so easy without! You could look down thru the spark plug hole and pull the engine over with the hand crank. The valves should have near equal “overlap” at the top of the exhaust stroke. If you are a tooth off, the overlap will be offset whatever 1 tooth equals in crank degrees (15?). You should be able to see this without a degree wheel. But in reality, this is a hard one to screw up during assembly, and all 4 cylinders would show the same issue

Are your valves sealing? This is the one I feel you should consider the most. Model T valve springs are reaaaaaly weak, and it takes spring pressure to seal the valves. Valve seat pressure is the simple formula of spring force divided by the surface area of valve contact face. If you double the contact width, you half your spring pressure! The 3 angle valve grind is not a performance grind, it is the bare minimum to achieve proper seat contact area, maintain seat pressure, and therefore ensure a good seal. Of course you can have concentricity, roundness, and guide clearance issues that will all negatively affect the quality of your valve job. As stated above, it’s common practice to grind your valves and seats 1 degree different. This technique ensures the maximum spring pressure due to minimum contact area, and so wears away almost instantly. Also, when you do your leakdown, try using the 10 pounds you questioned originally. The 80 psi suggested above could actually force the valves closed and cause them to seal better and provide you with a false sense of security. The same effect that causes an old motor to start hard and “run fine”. Run the test again with the lower pressure, and the leak may be obvious!

Why do your compression readings vary? You are hand cranking! We all get tired... your readings show a relatively consistent pattern and so I can believe they are relatively accurate, but I believe some of your wild wet/dry readings could be explained by the additional top end lube and/or operator fatigue

My .02 cents... pull the head, throw away the lapping sticks, and grind em right! She’ll probably purr like a kitten

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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by John Warren » Sat Apr 04, 2020 9:40 am

Sounds like you are gaining on the door. I wish it were easier to come over to give you a hand. Be safe. jw
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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Quickm007 » Thu Apr 09, 2020 3:19 pm

Steve, we're all still sitting here on the edge of our seats waiting the happy ending and knowing if the hero will survive... I finished all my popcorns! :lol:
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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by CudaMan » Thu Apr 09, 2020 3:52 pm

Steve has been busy on another project:

http://dauntlessgeezer.com/blog420.html
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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Steve Jelf » Thu Apr 09, 2020 4:37 pm

Yep, I need to get that door replaced and finish getting a roof over it, then I can get back to Model T adventures. :D
The inevitable often happens.
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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by john in kzoo » Fri Apr 10, 2020 8:23 am

Steve, for what it's worth...I would have to be 10 times the mechanic I currently am in order to be as "incompetent" as you.
See you at OCF (hopefully)
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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Joe Reid » Wed Apr 22, 2020 12:36 am

What is the verdict, is the shop fixed, how about the 15 Runabout?


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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by DickC » Wed Apr 22, 2020 2:55 am

I learned a long time ago that, "when something goes wrong, look at what you did last". This is a long series of posts to go through and I may have missed some early points so excuse my ignorance. One of the things you did was mill the head. Did you use the original head bolts and check to see if the bolts were bottoming out? I recently made this mistake and resulted in the same conditions you have. I ended up with new head bolts. The combination of milling and perhaps stretched bolts could be your problem. It seems so simple but I would check. Dick C.


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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by jab35 » Wed Apr 22, 2020 12:12 pm

I agree with Dick, however, 'what you didn't do last' is important too, I'm still concerned valve function/dysfunction may not have been adequately addressed earlier. Good luck, Steve, you are a good sport in sharing all this and maintaining a sense of humor when people offer you $5 for you car. Please let us know 'the final answer(s)' when you know them. jb

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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Steve Jelf » Wed Apr 22, 2020 12:57 pm

New porch is done, but I still need to replace the broken door that's bolted shut. Then I'll replace the bad air regulator in the shop and get back to Model T work.

IMG_5050 copy.JPG
The inevitable often happens.
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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by DickC » Mon Apr 27, 2020 6:21 pm

Hey Steve, when will we get to hear the "rest" of the story?

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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Steve Jelf » Mon Apr 27, 2020 11:00 pm

I hope to get to it this week.
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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by DHort » Mon Apr 27, 2020 11:08 pm

He is too busy on his map program trying to figure out where Scott is going to drive next.

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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Duey_C » Mon Apr 27, 2020 11:52 pm

Mark, thank you for the link! Been too busy.
Steve, thank you. Too much to say and my brain is pushing me to other things right now. Jalapeños? Oof. HOT. Good for us tho.
Awaiting the answer here too. :)
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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by ivaldes1 » Tue Apr 28, 2020 6:53 pm

Steve, you could make a nice T table with the differential housings as legs. So if anyone stays at your house guest room do T parts fall out of the closet? :)
Steve Jelf wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 12:57 pm
New porch is done, but I still need to replace the broken door that's bolted shut. Then I'll replace the bad air regulator in the shop and get back to Model T work.


IMG_5050 copy.JPG


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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by George Hand » Sun May 03, 2020 1:16 pm

Steve, First I have not read all of these replies, but one thing comes to mine when doing compression test is that the throttle needs to be wide open, that fact will not cause a variance from cylinder to cylinder but is part of the compression test procedure. Good luck .

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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Steve Jelf » Wed May 06, 2020 12:05 am

After taking April off to attend to other things, I got back to this today. A month of sitting didn't cure the compression: 33,15, 25, 20.

IMG_5075 copy.JPG
I tried the leak-down test and it didn't make me any smarter than I was before. I set the regulator at 60 psi, set each cylinder at TDC, and shot in the air. I could hear air moving somewhere, very, very faintly. I think it may have been in the exhaust manifold, but the sound was so faint I'm not sure. With a stethoscope I couldn't hear anything at all. I think this engine needs to go to somebody who knows what he's doing. :(
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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Jeff Hood » Wed May 06, 2020 12:16 am

A stethoscope won't do it. a piece of vacuum or fuel line will help. Put one end in your ear and hold the other near the carb, muffler outlet, oil filler, radiator filler, and other spark plug holes. With a piston on TDC compression, air out the carb is intake valve, out the exhaust is exhaust valve, a little in the oil filler is normal ring gap, while a lot is broken ring, ring land, or head gasket. Other spark plug holes or radiator filler is also head gasket.


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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by DickC » Wed May 06, 2020 2:36 am

Jeff, I'm not trying to be an old fuddy duddy on this but like I said before, "have you cleaned the head bolt taps in the block and measured the head and tapped hole to ensure that the head bolts are not reaching bottom and failing to tighten the head? I know this sounds simple but my recent experience was that way. Cleaned holes and new bolts did the trick and was simple to test. Dick C.


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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Marshall V. Daut » Wed May 06, 2020 10:33 am

Steve -
Take off the manifolds and do the air test again, setting each piston at TDC. If the exhaust valve in a cylinder is leaking, you will feel air pushing out of the port for that cylinder. The same with the intake. Repeat for each cylinder. You can get a better feel for the leakage this way than by leaving the manifolds in place and guessing whether it's the exhaust or intake valve that's defective. Hold a piece of paper over the open port. If it flutters, there's your culprit! Using this method, I found that valve #6 in cylinder #3 was leaking in the '24 Coupe's engine that I'm redoing, even though we cut new seats with Neway cutters. No matter where we set the piston in the bore, air leaked past the intake.
You may be sacrificing manifold gaskets to do this, but they probably needed replacing anyway. :) Be sure to use the high dollar copper gland style gaskets. They seal very well and will eliminate possible intake leakage that could contribute to your engine's problems.
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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by NU2theT » Thu May 07, 2020 7:46 pm

Steve have been following this thread as well and on my new to me T finding a stuck exhaust valve on #1 with zero and the rest in the 50's. After going through new lifters, valves/springs ect. got the head back on and torqued this week. Will get back to my T later this week and hope better results from #1 when I do a compression test.

Hope all goes well for you and as others have mentioned it turns out to be an easy fix, and after all this you may have something to add to your "model T articles" on your Dauntless Geezer site. Your Model T articles on that site have been very helpful to me getting my 26 back together. The "how to set model T timing" was perfect and only had to make slight adjustments to my timer rod.

Incompetence, absolutely not. That's why it's called "troubleshooting" a problem :lol:


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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by tdump » Thu May 07, 2020 9:03 pm

Has this engine overheated at some point? As in take the temper out of the rings?
Also,I know this is a LONG shot,but does anyone know if a cam gear on the crank shaft can shear the key and cause timeing to be off just enough that valves are open at the wrong time?
This is a odd issue and I feel like the problem is not going to be a by the book problem.Something odd
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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Steve Jelf » Thu May 07, 2020 10:04 pm

Well, I did the test today following Marshall's suggestion of removing the manifolds.

IMG_5087 copy.JPG
With strips of tissue hanging over the ports it wasn't hard to see air movement. #3 was the worst, and you can see the tissue on #3 exhaust blowing in the wind. Most of the valves leaked at least a little. I'll do this again and take notes on which valves are especially problematic.

IMG_5088 copy.JPG
I also stuck a hose in the oil filler and listened to the crank case. I could hear air on every cylinder. I think Fred and Mack are on the mark with their suspicion of fried rings. It probably happened when I ran out of coolant in Illinois last September. I hope that incident didn't damage any more than the rings. I shot some oil into #3 and listened again as I applied the air. I could still hear air leaking past the rings, with a little gurgle of oil blowing through. Looks like those pistons will be coming up.
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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Ruxstel24 » Thu May 07, 2020 10:21 pm

Great job Steve !! Sounds like you’ve made some positive conclusions and can move forward now.
I also hope there’s no major hidden damage to the block. Probably a scuff with a hone and new rings will cure the bottom end.
I would double check valve clearance before removing them, just to see, but the valve seats should be obvious once the valves are out.
Carry on....

Great idea about the tissue paper, I hope you can salvage some for the bathroom. :lol:

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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by VowellArt » Thu May 07, 2020 10:35 pm

That was going to be my suggestion too Steve, the rings...everything else seemed to be sort of correct. One thing though, did you also grind the valve seats on the block when you did the valves? I mean did you do them separately from the valves? It's important to level the playing field first, then fit the valves to the seats. And if you've done all that, then check the rings, in particular the oil wiper ring. Also might be a good time to re-hone those cylinders too, just to give those new rings something smooth to travel on. ;)
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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Steve Jelf » Thu May 07, 2020 10:35 pm

I hope you can salvage some for the bathroom.

I always buy the biggest package for the lowest price, so I had a stock to last several months when the Great TP Panic of 2020 arrived. :D
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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by tdump » Thu May 07, 2020 10:56 pm

Sounds like a valve lapping ,a cylinder honing,and some new rings might get you going again.
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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Scott C. » Fri May 08, 2020 1:22 am

If it did get that hot, the rings may be compromised. A little honing and a new set of rings will fix that, as long as the pistons and cylinder walls are not damaged? I think that you also need to get the valves and seats properly ground and the lash properly adjusted.


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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by DickC » Sat May 09, 2020 12:52 am

Steve, all the suggestions being made are good a valid. It would appear that you have multiple leakage issues. This was the situation I had recently and why I suggested the simple approach to first ensure that your head bolts are not bottoming. Before you take everything apart, just check to make sure this is not your problem. In my case, I tried to torque one bolt and it snapped. That meant a lot more work than necessary if I had checked the bolt measurement first. I'm out of your hair now, best wishes. Dick C.


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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by DickC » Sat May 09, 2020 1:00 am

Steve, all the suggestions are good but before you do a tear down please check the head bolts. With all the leakage that you seem to have with the air leak down test, it may just be the proper torque is not possible. Checking the head bolts is easy and not too invasive. I'm out of this now, Best wishes, Dick C.


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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by DickC » Sat May 09, 2020 1:03 am

Sorry for the double message but I didn't think the first went through. I guess it is late--or maybe too early!!!!

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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Charlie B in N.J. » Sat May 09, 2020 6:54 am

So the majority of you have finally settled on rings? Good O. It's the correct answer.
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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Steve Jelf » Thu May 14, 2020 12:00 am

Today I finally pulled a piston to look at the rings.

IMG_5092 copy.JPG
After previous discussions I was expecting the rings to be fried and breaking apart, but I can't see a thing wrong with these.

IMG_5093.JPG
What I did find wrong was what look like rust spots inside two of the cylinders. This is in #3. They aren't terribly deep, but I can feel them with a fingernail. I suppose they must contribute to the leakage, but they can't be the main problem. There are none of these in #1 and #2, and #2 had the worst compression of all.

IMG_5096.JPG
These are in #4. I suppose they must have come from a leaking head gasket, but I didn't find any coolant in the oil.


I think the main problem is valves.



IMG_5099.JPG

IMG_5101 copy.JPG
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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Steve Jelf » Thu May 14, 2020 12:02 am

IMG_5102 copy.JPG
IMG_5104.JPG
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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Kevin Pharis » Thu May 14, 2020 12:36 am

The gasket leaks that I have experienced leave drip trails from the leak point, and also leave a rust ring where the water sits on the top ring. These rust spots look more like condensation to me...?

The valve contact area on our valves looks really inconsistent, and we already know they were leaking... but you neglect to show pictures of the valve seats or discuss how the valve seats were cut/ground/lapped


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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Scott C. » Thu May 14, 2020 12:39 am

Steve, I don't think that pitting in the cylinders is causing any detectable issues. I do see some slight scoring o the piston skirt, but nothing worth worrying about. Are those cast iron, or chrome rings? Chrome rings can withstand higher heat ranges than cast iron rings.
Can you show us pictures of the valve seats? Did you ever check and see what the valve lash is? Also, check the clearance between the valve stems and valve guides.


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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by AZTerry » Thu May 14, 2020 1:44 am

Hello Steve,

I will cut to the chase. With the vertical scoring completely around all three rings, the rings are trash. The vertical scoring on the piston and cylinder walls also leads me to believe the piston and possibly the rings started to seize in the cylinder. If you can feel the vertical scoring in the cylinders with your finger nail, the cylinder scoring is excessive. This appears to be your main problem to me.If I remember correctly you did state the engine was overheated at some time during your travels.

Now for the rust pits you can feel with your finger nail. Those types of rust pits can damage rings, although I do not feel it is the primary cause of the ring failure at this time. If it was my engine and I wanted it reliable I would be re boring it.

On the valves. It looks to me like they are basically seating about one third of the way down from the top of the valve face (the shiny area) which is correct. What I see wrong is the seat width is not wide enough and is inconsistent around the diameter. I believe this is a secondary problem that should be corrected as well.

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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Charlie B in N.J. » Thu May 14, 2020 7:46 am

The compression would not have gone up with the addition of oil to the cylinders if the rings were good. It's not rocket science. It's n.g. rings. The valve seating is nothing to scream about either BUT re-read line one of this post.
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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Steve Jelf » Thu May 14, 2020 11:42 am

OK, I don't know if the pictures are good enough to show anything, but here are the valve seats. There are two shots at each cylinder, one from straight above and one from the side.

#1:
IMG_5106 copy.JPG
IMG_5110 copy.JPG

#2:
IMG_5107 copy.JPG
IMG_5111 copy.JPG
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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Steve Jelf » Thu May 14, 2020 11:43 am

#3:
IMG_5108 copy.JPG
IMG_5112 copy.JPG


#4:
IMG_5109 copy.JPG
IMG_5113 copy.JPG


A couple of questions before I go check some other things:
1 This engine is already bored .080" over. That's the safe limit isn't it?
2 Would a cylinder hone be an adequate alternative to reboring?
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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Scott_Conger » Thu May 14, 2020 1:18 pm

Steve

you absolutely MUST change the rings. It isn't terribly expensive or difficult, but if you do not, Charlie will haunt you forever. It will of course not fix any of the air blowing past the valves, but at least he will be able to sleep at night.

I think you have a pretty good grasp on what needs to be done, including figuring out why so much moisture got into #4. That thing looks nasty and I wonder at this point if you don't have a crack in the head somwhere that bead blasting and dye penetrant testing might uncover. That's a lot of rust in the top of that cylinder to not have a blown head gasket obviously showing up
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Re: The frustration of incompetence

Post by Scott C. » Thu May 14, 2020 1:22 pm

Steve, did you clean the top of that piston? Or, was already that clean? Show us the tops of all four pistons. Also show us the chambers of the head, if you have not cleaned it up yet.

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