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Old 02-06-2012, 06:47 PM   #1
CaliFucos
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Puzzling discovery after tearing down engine for rebuild

Let me start with the history of the car first,

(FOR THOSE WHO DON'T WANT TO READ ABOUT THE HISTORY: Skip to the last few paragraphs)

I purchased my 2001 Focus from a friend a couple years back. When I got the car it was running (although sometimes rough) but needed to be jumped and have the battery charged somewhat every time it was started. I left the car sitting in my driveway for quite some time, probably around a year. When I started working on it the first thing I did was replace the battery, starter and alternator. I changed the oil and oil filter and the air filter as well. I then put about 5 gallons of fresh gas on top of what it had left in the tank and I drove it around the streets and took it for a good long run on the freeway, afterwards it seemed to be running smoothly so I took it in for a smog. It failed by a few points in the Hydrocarbon section on the low speed test, if I remember correctly.

After the results of that test, I replaced the sparkplugs, oxygen sensors, and also ran some snakeoil (AKA guaranteed to pass) through it. After doing that the car seemed to start more easily. I started the car up and left it in my driveway for 10-15 minutes to warm up completely and when I came out I noticed the car had shut itself off. No overheating or anything like that so I assumed that it was something electrical (sensor.) I drove it around some more and put some fresh gas and I noticed that at stop signs the motor would sometimes idle roughly. Hoping it was just dirty injectors or the ECU tripping out I continued to drive it around at various different speeds.

The next time I started the car and warmed it up it seemed to be functioning fairly normal. So I drove it around for a little while and took it back to the smog station. While waiting in line at the smog station the idle suddenly became very sporadic as the computer tried to compensate for the rough idle and so I checked the temp which was right where it should be. So I shut the car down and attempted to restart it, it was extremely hard to start and once it was started the idle was still really rough and while I was telling the guy that I wouldn't be smogging my car that day, it konked out.

I brought it home and left it alone for a few days. When I went to mess with it the next time, my dad insisted that I let my brother drive it, because at the time I had problems with my license. So after letting it warm up to operating temp in the driveway, off we went, with my brother driving. I told him we should go on the freeway so it could see some more RPMs then it typically does on the street. Next thing I know he punched the accelerator and the motor reached near it's rev limit or maybe valve float, whichever comes first. The trans held 2nd at the top a few seconds and then right at the shift point I heard a terrible knocking and I yelled for him to let off and we shut the car down immediately.

(SKIP TO HERE)

We pushed the car home and when I got it home I popped the valve cover and checked for any loose or stuck lifters, nothing. I also checked the oil and it wasn't low. So I had my brother fire it with the cover off and it sounded like it was def coming from the bottom end (rod knock). I pulled the head off and found that all of the pistons seemed to be whacking the head, but not on the side where the valve recesses are cut. This was odd because the first thing I assumed was that the timing had jumped and the pistons were hitting the valves.

Upon further investigation into the car I found that the engine was rebuilt only 2000 miles ago by a rebuilder in my area that is known to do very shotty work. So I pulled the engine and I am looking to do a full rebuild on it but I want to make sure that I am not going to have the same issue.

I checked the block and head to make sure he didn't install the wrong head or anything like that but YS4E-EA head and YS4E-DA block appear to be the correct casting numbers. The bearings all feel proper, no up and down or side play on the rods or anything funky like that. The only thing I can think is that he: A) Didn't install the valve seats in the head correctly B) Put the wrong pistons in the engine C) Installed the wrong head gasket.

I'm thinking that it had just enough clearance to run decently on a cold start up, but as soon as the engine got fully warmed up and rod stretch occurred that tiny amount of clearance was not enough and that's what was causing the rough idle and hard start while the engine was warm.

Here's the Pics so you can see for yourself and let me know what you think:

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/94/block1l.jpg/
http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/209/block2v.jpg/
http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/684/block3y.jpg/
http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/15/head1je.jpg/
http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/33/head2c.jpg/

I am planning on doing a full rebuild, having the the block cleaned and honed as necessary, having my crank polished or ground if necessary and having the rods reconditioned and balanced or replaced if necessary before having my new pistons installed on them.
As far as parts go:
Fresh cylinder head with reinforced valve seats and three angle valve job
Felpro Overhaul Gasket Set
New pistons and Rings
Bearings Main and Rod
New head bolt set
Timing belt component Kit
Timing belt
Oil Pump
Water Pump
Thermostat
Did I miss anything?

I apologize for my long winded explanation ahead of time. Your thoughts and advice are greatly appreciated.


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Old 02-06-2012, 08:21 PM   #2
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Dropped a seat.Lugnut has a good thread here on rebuilding this engine,take a look.
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Old 02-06-2012, 08:27 PM   #3
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That was my initial assumption after reading through the many horror stories associated with this engine, but I thought that when that occurs it is generally isolated to the piston that it occurred on. I started thinking it had to be something else because of the fact that it had occurred on all four pistons. Now that I think about it though after a valve seat crumbles and the engine is ran afterwards, it is very possible for those shavings to go up the intake runner and into the plenum, and from there it would be distributed to all the cylinders. I will definitely check out lugnut's thread. Thank you for your reply!
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Old 02-06-2012, 08:35 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaliFucos View Post
That was my initial assumption after reading through the many horror stories associated with this engine, but I thought that when that occurs it is generally isolated to the piston that it occurred on. I started thinking it had to be something else because of the fact that it had occurred on all four pistons. I will definitely check out lugnut's thread. Thank you for your reply!
That seat will travel threw out the head .Take a close look at your head and you will find one of the seats are gone.
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Old 02-06-2012, 08:39 PM   #5
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That seat will travel threw out the head .Take a close look at your head and you will find one of the seats are gone.
Haha yea I started thinking about it and I edited my previous post but you beat me to it. You're definitely right.
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Old 02-10-2012, 08:05 AM   #6
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If you need a SPI rebuild kit i have one or two left laying about. From previous projects that decided to go Zetec.
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Old 02-10-2012, 12:45 PM   #7
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Doesn't sound like that guy rebuilt the engine at all.
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Old 02-10-2012, 10:46 PM   #8
CaliFucos
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjzx2sr View Post
If you need a SPI rebuild kit i have one or two left laying about. From previous projects that decided to go Zetec.
Man I wish I would have waited, I already ordered the parts from ebay a few days ago. Otherwise, I would definitely take you up on that on that. I appreciate the offer though!
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Old 02-10-2012, 10:55 PM   #9
CaliFucos
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Originally Posted by jay-rod05 View Post
Doesn't sound like that guy rebuilt the engine at all.
Haha yea when I looked at the bearings and the casting numbers on the pistons I am pretty sure he didn't change them. I'm thinking he probably slapped a junkyard head on, wiped down the valve cover, and said it was rebuilt. I am sure he didn't clean out the intake manifold or egr either.The sad part is, according to the receipt I found in the car, he charged the previous owner over $1000 for the "rebuild." The engine didn't even make it another 2000 miles before it blew up again!
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Old 02-11-2012, 04:23 PM   #10
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Could riding the revlimiter like that stretch the valves to hit that quick?
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