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Discussion Starter #1
Everything I have learned recently points to the piston rings being bad, I just want advise one way or another and tools needed.
2003 focus 2.3l, 5 speed manual, 146k miles.
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That valve looks like the problem. Honestly, at this point, you're better off finding a 2.5l to toss in there. I applaud anyone who takes the timing cover and head off with the engine in the car. Getting it all back together would be a nightmare. I'm not sure about the rings being bad, but you should clean off the cylinder walls and inspect for irregular wear. You should have a cross hatching effect and no vertical or horizontal grooves. Pull the rods and pistons, hone the cylinders, then install rods and pistons with new rings. You can do that with the engine in the car but getting the timing cover on with RTV and having no leaks would be the hardest part.

As for that chipped valve, yeah, replace that for sure. I suppose that broken bit could have scored the cylinder walls and is causing oil to push into the combustion chamber. In that case, anyone will tell you to replace the engine. A direct 2.3 replacement is more expensive than an upgrade to a 2.5.
 

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Well only after putting the engine back together did I discover that it was not the head gasket. With 2 new exhaust valves, new gaskets and seals there was oil on top of the piston and still a misfire. So I want to get a general consensus that it is the rings before I tear it down, again. I will do a compression test soon.
 
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