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Discussion Starter #1
So here's the whole story...

At 150k miles, my car wouldn't start. I could open up the throttle and get it to putter, but only for 10 seconds or so.

I dragged it home and opened up the timing covers to reveal the belt had jumped some teeth. I replaced the belt and the tensioner but (here is where it gets ugly) may not have gotten the timing correct the first time. I took it for a test drive as it puttered along, and quickly returned to the garage and redid all my work. I got the timing on correct the second time, but now it's making a horrific metal and metal knocking noise.

I'm thinking I bent some valves or did something else stupid. I don't have any time to work on it, but I don't have any money either -- and I sort of just want my lady back. I need the car to run, so I'm thinking of taking off the head and inspecting the situation. If things are indeed bad, i'll take the head to a machine shop for a rebuild.

I have three questions.

1) Does this sound like the right plan of attack?

2) Does anyone have the "shop instructions" for this process? The CHILTON explains how to do the full rebuild, but doesn't address removing the head while the engine remains in the vehicle.

3) What parts will I need to complete this? Head gasket? Valve cover gasket? Anything else?

Thanks for reading this far. I hope I can get some confidence to hop back in the garage and do this.
 

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"clatter" is never good, the first step however would be a compression check to see what's going on - gives you an idea what you are facing.... BEFORE teardown!

& try to isolate the source of the noise, you don't want to spend time & Bucks on one problem, just to find that there is another....

The more diagnostic you can do before taking things apart the better, otherwise you have to tear it ALL down - and even then the physical inspection might not show all the issues that occur when it's together without a VERY close inspection of all the parts....

Luck!

Get back here with more info so we can give better advice....
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Alrighty. My equipment wasn't the greatest, but I got some numbers.

Starting at the timing belt end, 140, 125, 0, 142.

Also, I would say the clatter is coming from the top end of the engine.

Thanks for reading.
 

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Sounds like the "dreadedf" valve seat drop that sometimes happens to SPI's at that kind of mileage....

Time to pull the head, make sure there isn't damage that's TOO bad to the piston & cylinder, then get the head rebuilt & reinstall it....

Luck!
 

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Aurelius Pardus
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No compression on the third cylinder, well that sucks.

I dont always try to jump to a dropped valve seat... if you say timing was off you really could have bent a valve, though on just one cylinder I doubt it. This case I would say is most likely a seat but yes either way you will need to pull the head.


Simple way to remove the head, disconnect the battery (just smart) drain the coolant and start taking down the timing side of the engine so you can get the head free from the timing belt. Youll have to disconnect the main radiator hose from the thermostat at the driver side and the two or three small lines that head to the heater core from the same spot.

Now you can either remove the intake manifold or not. Keep in mind thaf if it dropped a seat you need to flush out the intake manifold so it may be better idea to remove that with the head. if you choose this path, go ahead and remove the fuel rail from the manifold and push it out of the way. Any wiring to the head needs to be removed as well.

Remove the exhaust manifold at least enough to push it out of the way and pull the head. Remove the valve cover and there are 6 to 8 bolts holding the head to the block. I would remove them in a circular pattern but the head may be junk so it might not matter. better safe than sorry.

Take a look at the head. I have a thread on what a dropped seat looks like you might want to check out. If you have the same problem then your head will not be salvageable, the piston and rod will need to be replaced (I have 3 good piston/ rod combos Ill get rid of for cheap if you need one) the cylinder will need to be honed and youll need a new head. You will also need an upper engine gasket kit.

good luck with it.
 

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All good advice. I'd go one step further before tearing into it too far though. It may not be the problem but it will give you more confidence in what the problem is.

- Check to see if you have oil in the coolant or coolant in the oil.
and/or,

- See if the 'metal-to-metal noise' is a collapsed hydraulic lifter on #3. It's only three screws and a hose on the valve cover. You may have to rotate the cam/loosen two rocker bolts so you can push down on the lifter 'buttons' with your fingers to check for 'sponginess'.

Hope that's all it is but don't hold your breath
 

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Oh - meant to mention:

Something else to look for/at is - pull the plugs, at least #3, and see if there is any damage to the electrode or insulator. And then with an ultra bright LED flashlight look at the top of the piston on #3, through the spark plug hole, to see if there is any damage - Especially on the outer edge, right side. You may need to put the piston lower in the cylinder - bump the starter.
 

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I have three questions.

1) Does this sound like the right plan of attack?

2) Does anyone have the "shop instructions" for this process? The CHILTON explains how to do the full rebuild, but doesn't address removing the head while the engine remains in the vehicle.

3) What parts will I need to complete this? Head gasket? Valve cover gasket? Anything else?
1) Yes, sort of. I'd first attempt to see if there was anything that could be learned with just the valve cover off. You'll need a set of feeler gauges, and check relief at TDC for each cylinder. A bent valve is one that will show open when it should be closed. You might even find that one of the valves has dropped.

2) Yeah, well most of what's described you'll have to do except removing the engine. The front engine mount will have to be removed as well as the intake and exhaust manifolds. Those manuals just give you an idea of how things go together and come apart, but you still have to figure it out.

3) Head gasket kit, that will give you the intake manifold, exhaust, head gasket and every other gasket you'll need as well as a few you might not need. Extras: Oil and coolant, lots of rags, and patience.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Everyone, this is awesome and EXACTLY what I was hoping to get on this forum. Thank you thank you thank you.

On the subject of pulling the third spark plug and looking in the hole - I'll try to get a different flashlight. I assumed it was impossible to do since I got nothing out of using the drop light.

As far as checking under the valve cover-this sounds like a good idea. It sounds like I should be able to rotate the engine to TDC at each cylinder and then (with a feeler gauge?) check the spring on each valve. If something is revealed to be open when it should be closed, this could also indicate some possible piston damage. Correct? I'll do this first.

Thanks for the tip on the head gasket kit.

Thanks again, everyone. This is truly appreciated.
 

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......On the subject of pulling the third spark plug and looking in the hole - I'll try to get a different flashlight. I assumed it was impossible to do since I got nothing out of using the drop light......
Yeah, drop light won't do anything for you. This actually works best: "Mini LED Flashlight with Flex Head and Laser". You can find them at Walgreens or electronic stores/departments for less than $5 U.S..

The long flexible neck lets you put the LED right inside the cylinder and still be able to see the top of the piston. Best results are at night when your pupils are dilated and adjusted to the dark. (careful not to drop it)

And when you're done with the car application you can entertain the cat with the laser for hours - they love to chase the spot.

 

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Yup - anything tiny will help... I've got a cheap mechanics light with a flexible wand & a TINY bulb at the end - WONDERFUL for looking into cylinders, 'cause the bulb will actually go down inside....
 
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