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Old 05-31-2013, 04:34 AM   #1
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'03 SVT - leaned out in 6th gear, melted piston

OK - Obviously at speeds above the posted limit on a VERY back road that is at least two miles long surrounded by corn fields. Car has 67mm TB, K&N drop-in and Toms Tune (plus z rated Michellin Pilot Super Sports and Koni adjustable's FWIW). It also has a CFM 49 state hi-flow cat and the rest of the exhaust is stock. The cat was added and not part of the tune.

Never a problem in the first 4 gears going to 7500 RPM and pulling nicely. I was at 6,000 RPM in 5th and it took awhile to get there. At 6,000, I put it in 6th. It gained just a few MPH and then dropped 5 MPH. I immediately let off the gas and I knew it had a dead cylinder. Coasted down and looked in the rear-view mirror and there was a nice long trail of blue smoke behind me. I pretty much figured out the engine leaned out (and yes, I should have backed off earlier) and I knew it was a broken ring land. I limped the last 5 miles to the shop I was heading to. Because the shop is where my real race car is and I shouldn't have been doing what I was doing out in the middle of nowhere. But why digress...

Oil temp, oil pressure and water temp remained normal. No rod knock either. Just a dead hole. Made it to the shop. Pulled the plugs. #3 was very wet, there was slight amounts of molten aluminum on it and the ground strap was partially melted. Looking in the hole I saw the piston was intact; at least in the middle. So I knew it hadn't dropped a valve.

Shop pulled the head today. #3 has a piston that is now flat on the back side as the piston was burned from crown to skirt. They will measure the bore and see what it takes to get it back to spec again. There is one scar on the back side (radiator side being the front side), but it should clean up. Need to see what piston over-bore to purchase for all four cylinders.

1st - Is there an upgrade fuel pump available? I SUSPECT at this point the 130,000 mile SVT has the original fuel pump and I am ASSUMING it is just past it's prime and can;t keep up with such high-load requirements. CFM tells me the stock pump is rated to 200 HP and I am well below that. So a stock replacement may be all it needs, just curious if there is an upgraded unit?

2nd - I see this is a dead-head regulator. The shop I use has a lot of experience with Viper engines that also employed a dead-head system and the same thing that I just experienced was experienced by many Viper owners. They cured that issue by converting from a dead-head to a return style. Some Vipers received an adjustable pressure fuel pump and they adjusted the pressure about 10 PSI higher and that proved adequate for all but the most serious race engines.
Any input on this?

3rd - The engine received new pistons & rings at the Ford dealer about 15,000 miles before I bought the car. At 85,000, the car was a trade-in with poor ring seal due to the owner running a CAI system with a dirty cone air-filter. When I bough the car it had the complete stock air intake system installed. Not to long ago I checked cranking compression and all 4 were at 165 PSI +/- only a few pounds each cylinder.

In looking at the pistons today, they are a reverse-dome with two valve notches. They are marked 64-007 BA. I was under the impression the SVT Focus had a slightly domed piston. Is that correct? Because if so, I'd say the dealer put standard Zetech (non-SVT) pistons in. What does this marking symbolize?

I want to put forged pistons in with the correct SVT design pistons. It doesn't appear anybody has a shelf piston that is a forged SVT copy. I find that hard to believe but unless somebody can direct me, I can't find any. I see there are plenty of forged pistons available that are around 9.0:1 / 9.2:1 compression and the trick seems to run a shorter zetech aftermarket rod with a taller compression height piston. But it's still short on compression.

I've had plenty of forged pistons custom made. So the cost or wait is not a big issue with me. Forged pistons offer the opportunity for better ring packages with better ring seal plus you will lighter and stronger piston. I'm sure I will get lighter and stronger wrist pins also.

Is there an aftermarket rod in the correct SVT length?

The idea here is hone the block (as long as the block is in spec to do that) and drop in new pistons and maybe new rods along with new bearings and a valve job. #3 combustion chamber got beat up a little but it will clean up.

Thanks for the help.

And oh, by the way, I do NOT think there is a problem with Tom's Tune. We will check the fuel pump and I highly suspect it was just old and couldn't keep up with such a high demand situation; which again, I should have known better!
Tom suggested a wide-band O2 gauge which I will do.


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Old 05-31-2013, 09:19 AM   #2
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For NA the stock pistons work very well , the rods are very strong , custom forged are going to cost you 175.00 to 200.00 EACH

The stock SVT Fuel pump ( Green top only) is a very good fuel pump , I would change pump , sock , filter

If it were me I would go back stock , same the piston money on other mods , AF Gauge etc and keep going

Tom
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Old 05-31-2013, 09:35 AM   #3
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Stock Zetec piston on left, SVT piston on right.

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Old 05-31-2013, 11:10 AM   #4
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Thank you.

What does the stampings on the pistons 64-007 BA indicate?
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Old 07-21-2013, 02:15 PM   #5
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Received new pistons from Diamond. Took about 3 weeks from time order was placed. Unfortunately, even with providing a stock piston, they made the. Wrong so back they go.
They added the oil holes to the oil ring rails. No can do with an engine with oil squirters.
They promised a new set in 2 weeks. So yes, they screwed up but at least they are taking care of it.
I'm also getting the cams reground for better performance. I'm getting the buddy deal so I shouldn't say the price.
Will have Turbo Tom drive along with the laptops and tune it.
Can't wait!
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Old 07-29-2013, 05:23 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperStockAMX View Post
I'm also getting the cams reground for better performance. I'm getting the buddy deal so I shouldn't say the price.
Keep us updated on these. I want to know if there's any gains to be had.
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Old 08-07-2013, 03:21 AM   #7
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My cam guy called me and after mapping the factory stock SVT cams, he said he can't do any better with the factory cam cores. He said the patterns on the lobes were similar to what he grinds for his Lamborghini customers and that's a $2,000 grind! He said he couldn't believe Ford put something out like this, he was impressed! So that leaves one with a whole 'nuther playing field; true "race" cams that would be intolerable for the average street car. So he's sending them back to me along with my money.

Pistons:
Diamond insists that their pistons have the oil holes around the oil ring groove in the piston. Consulted with a source at Gibbs Motorsports (NASCAR engine builder) and he said it would be fine if we limit the .060: factory SVT piston oil squirters to .020". So that's what we are doing. The Diamond forged pistons have 1mm top and second rings as that makes getting Total Seal rings possible for the bore size. Diamond also made the slight indentation in the crown of the piston using a 5* angle instead of the factory SVT 8* so there will be a slight increase in compression. I'm guessing a quarter-point.
Piston crowns and skirts should be coated by now, hope to get this all assembled in the next couple of weeks.
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Old 08-07-2013, 03:29 AM   #8
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New Diamond forged SVT piston (before coating):




Factory SVT piston:

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Old 08-07-2013, 03:39 AM   #9
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Using SVT rods with new ARP rod bolts. Also new ARP cylinder head studs. The Diamond pistons and wrist pins were about 16g's lighter than factory. Not a big amount, only about 1/8th of a pound in reciprocating weight. It is what it is and I'm not going to take more weight off the pistons; it is a street car! But my main goal is better ring seal and less ring drag. That will be noticeable.
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Old 08-07-2013, 10:23 AM   #10
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Why not just take out the oil squirters ?

Are the pistons custom for the SVT rods ? or is this the Diamond pistons for the Zetec ?

Tom
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