2 Sets of burned valves in 11k miles
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Author:  phantomrt [ Wed Dec 11, 2013 8:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 2 Sets of burned valves in 11k miles

There is that cast aluminum coolant "pipe" that goes from one head to the other, and it sandwiches the plastic intake manifold on each end. The aluminum piece doesn't fail, and it automatically comes with the intake manifold, although it is removable. Like the GM intake manifold gaskets, the plastic that holds the rubber gaskets in place got brittle and broke and leaked coolant all over. The 5.4 and 4.6 seem to have this issue. There's nothing a person can do to prevent it from happening that I can tell.

Author:  VR4 [ Fri Dec 13, 2013 7:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 2 Sets of burned valves in 11k miles

ah forgot about that. ive replaced one on a town car for the same thing. it had the updated aluminum crossover but still cracked under the t-stat.

Author:  phantomrt [ Wed Jan 08, 2014 11:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 2 Sets of burned valves in 11k miles

Well, all was going so well through the fierce -15 degree HIGH temperatures for the days, and it hasn't been much above zero for like a week now. You people in Canada are probably rolling your eyes at me now. The odometer reads about 219,5xx.

This morning, it fires up like normal, and starts to misfire. Hmmmmmm. That's strange. It cleared up and I drove to work. I then drive to Culvers for lunch, and when I try to start it to go back to work, it cranks and then stops--as in hydro-lock stop. I work the key a couple times and eventually I think a fuse for the starter circuit popped. I get the car pop-started and its doing the misfire again. Get back to my work about a half mile away, and then I got some unusual white smoke coming from the exhaust manifold leak at the head and out the tail pipe along with the misfire to go with it.

So... yea.. not cool. I get a ride home, fired up the Jeep and went to get my tow dolly that was buried in snow at a friend's house who was borrowing it. I literally had to dig it up to get a hold of the winch strap to hook to the Jeep and literally tear it out of the snow. I spent the better part of the evening fixing the wiring on the dolly--a patch job until summer when I overhaul this thing. So, tomorrow I am going to work with the dolly to load up the car and bring it home.

So, I'm guessing head gasket failure as I am sure that most of you are, which means the head is coming off AGAIN. But part of this is of no surprise, since I re-used the new head bolts three times while I was trying to figure out why the valves were having such issues. It also helps that this is the easiest to remove cylinder head that any of us will find on a car. Assuming this thing was never overheated, which according to the gauge on the dash definitely never happened, this could be a less than $100 repair plus gas to haul the thing home and such. Of course if the head is cracked, that'll add $400 to the bill. The timing belt has about 93,xxx miles. maybe i will change that out at the same time.

Any chance that these factory gauge temperature sensors only allow the gauge to go up so far? If you ground the wire to the sensor, the needle goes all the way up to the peg, so the gauge is a real gauge, but I wonder if the sensor is. I will be sure to test it with a heat gun. This thing definitely didn't have any cooling system deficiencies. It always stayed cool in the heat of the summer and didn't warm up very fast in the winter. The coolant never froze as far as I can tell. The gasket lasted about 82,xxx miles.

Author:  codyb76 [ Wed Jan 08, 2014 11:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 2 Sets of burned valves in 11k miles

I know the guages will go way up, I've had a few up there on various occasions. These engines don't normally have any head gasket issues, but as the miles pile up, I'm sure things like that happen. What brand of gasket is in there now? I have done a ton of engines, but I send them on their merry way and don't often see them past perhaps 60,000 miles. Other than a bad run of head gaskets(eristic brand off ebay) I haven't had one fail other than after being seriously fried due to driving after radiator failures(last one got hot enough to melt timing cover in areas!).
This is a great thread because of the miles you have put on since engine repairs, shedding light on true life of the engines after light rebuilds.

Author:  suprf1y [ Thu Jan 09, 2014 1:22 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 2 Sets of burned valves in 11k miles

codyb76 wrote:
This is a great thread because of the miles you have put on since engine repairs, shedding light on true life of the engines after light rebuilds.

Agreed and stickied.

When you pull your head, if you need any parts, let us know and 3tech will take care of it.

Author:  phantomrt [ Thu Jan 09, 2014 7:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 2 Sets of burned valves in 11k miles

The gasket that I suspect has popped was made by Victor Reinz. But like I mentioned, installation may not have been proper due to re-using the head bolts. The originals were replaced, but after that, the "new ones" were re-torqued 3 times. I will admit that I did stuff a piece of cardboard in front of the radiator on Christmas day (and it is still there), just as an attempt to maybe get the engine to run 10 degrees hotter to get a little more heat in the cabin. But I can guarantee that the temperature gauge never went up beyond "where it normally goes". I never heard the radiator fan running when I came to a stop either. And the heat may have been slightly better if at all.

It was running so well prior to this. Other than the 2nd gear synchronizer ring that was shot when I bought it, and the chasing of my tail figuring out why the valves kept burning, this is the only powertrain problem the car has ever had in my ownership, and possibly since it was new. The engine looked virgin when I first tore it apart at 126,xxx miles.

If the head is still flat, and I see no cracks, all I will need is a head gasket, head bolts, and some new coolant, which may not be a bad idea to change right now anyway. It was almost due for an oil change as well.

Author:  phantomrt [ Sat Jan 11, 2014 5:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 2 Sets of burned valves in 11k miles

Well, the head is off... boy is that easy to remove on these cars. Sheesh. The problem was only a head gasket failure. The head is still straight enough according to my feeler gauges, and I see no cracks. It wasn't consuming any coolant at all prior to this incident, so I am not going to bother with getting the head checked or anything like that. I'm just going to clean up the gasket surfaces and stick it back together.

As you can see here, this is where the fire ring popped and let the combustion go straight into the water jacket.

Image ... 131243.jpg

And here, you can see cylinder number 1's fire ring has something going on with it. It wasn't too far behind cylinder #3 in its potential failing.

Image ... 131253.jpg

(the darn forum won't let me embed images from the way it looks)
While apart, I see that the exhaust manifold gasket was leaking more than I suspected, but this time I plan on taking a bit more time in fixing that. I am thinking about buying a new Dorman manifold. The one I have is... well, heavily warped, really rusty, and I am sick of smelling the exhaust leak, which interestingly enough, I only smell during engine braking. They're not too expensive and they come with a gasket and donut flange bolts.

The timing belt, which is 9x,xxx miles old, is getting pretty close to the end of its life, so I figure I should change that while I am in there. It had a crack in it that was a bit alarming. I was thinking about checking that soon anyway.

And, who knew that a head gasket failure can make a starter go bad? Coincidentally, it went bad at the same time. The solenoid is sticking, and the wire from the solenoid to the actual starter motor is heavily deteriorated. I don't know how this thing ever worked at all in the last 6 months like that. I literally pushed at that copper wire (or used to be copper) with a flat blade screw driver and it completely severed that big fat wire with one light push. Yikes. Like I said, I have no idea how that even carried enough current to turn on a light bulb, much less a starter motor. I have to decide if I am going to spend $20 on a salvage unit or $180 on a reman...

The cylinder walls look great--just like how I put it together. The engine seemed to have swallowed something small somehow. It beat up a piston slightly and the underside of the head. I'm not sure how that happened, but the damage from that is nil. I've seen stuff that have swallowed much larger items and survived okay.

Author:  phantomrt [ Thu Jan 16, 2014 2:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 2 Sets of burned valves in 11k miles

If I didn't mention it before, I am using this downtime opportunity to replace the heater core. I used my bore scope to peek inside the heater core tubes and I saw the pluggage. I suppose there is a good chance that it can be flushed and soaked with CLR to get it flowing again, but if it was not 21 years old, I wouldn't be too worried about how far the corrosion inside has eaten through the brass. The aftermarket Spectra core is disappointingly thinner--like 25% thinner. But, I was able to get by with the significantly plugged heater core before, so perhaps I'll finally have an inferno setting for my heater.

But Wow! Pulling the dashboard out of these cars is the easiest dashboard removal ever. It was my first try at dash removal on these cars, and it was all quite self-explanatory. I removed the steering column which was easy and the wires to it just unplugged. Plenty of room to get it out of there and nothing is heavy. If I knew dash removal was this easy, I would have tried dissolving the crud out of the old heater core and just ran it until it was a problem. Every dash removal that I was new to had something hanging up somewhere that was troublesome to find, but not this one. The only "trick" that was neccessary was to unplug the speedo cable from the transmission beforehand. I learned that with the gauge cluster swap.

The bad news is that this car has terminal cancer. Rust on the "A" pillar door jamb can be penetrated with a screw driver by hand. Not cool.

The new Dorman exhaust manifold came with a donut that didn't fit. It was way too tight slipping over the manifold. The old donut would fit fine, but it is worn heavily. I forcefully coaxed the dorman donut on there and I am going to try it. Who knows what is going to happen. It got damaged and such, but there wasn't much choice other than to contact Dorman and wait for them to send me another one or make a run to the auto parts store, or use the old one. It'll be nice to finally have no exhaust leaks. After I installed the exhaust manifold onto the head (which is sitting on the work bench), I swapped over the oxygen sensor and with my mouth tight to the outlet, I blew into the manifold to check for leaks. None found. I guess that means the exhaust valves are still sealing!

Author:  phantomrt [ Sat Jan 25, 2014 3:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 2 Sets of burned valves in 11k miles

The car is back together and running great. The oil I drained out had plenty of coolant in it, but that usually doesn't damage anything as long as the issue is caught and corrected soon enough.

The Dorman exhaust manifold donut was a bear to get to "work" and even at that, it isn't working all that well. There is a leak there, although it is miniscule to all the leaks I had before. I am going to contact Dorman and see if they won't send me a replacement donut. The last few times I contacted them about such issues, they were very prompt and send me the correct stuff for free.

Over the course of the last 5 years, it turns out that I was running it with the idle air control in a non-functional state. The cold idle valve was functional, however. After those -15 degree (fahrenheit) starts, it would idle at over 3,000 RPM. I had the idle air control vacuum line capped off with a screw, which was actually supposed to go to the air cleaner. I never had much concern about it, since it ran fine overall. But now it starts more like a fuel injected car. Perhaps I won't need to have my foot on the pedal for those warm engine starts anymore. If this engine was less reliable, I probably would have figured that out long ago, but since I never had to go into it for anything other than burnt valves and a water pump, I never had enough reason to mess with it.

The replacement starter came from the salvage yard -- $25 plus tax, so that's reasonable. It still has the NAPA reman tag on it, so it probably isn't that old.

The Goodyear timing belt that I had on it before.... well, I am pretty confident that it was causing the engine to make some kind of noise. It was tough to describe--almost like a belt rubbing against a plastic cover, but it made the noise for tens of thousands of miles but seemed to have gone away in the last 20,000-ish. My '03 Sonata made the same type of noise, and I changed the timing belts on it, and the noise was gone. My G10 now has a Gates belt on it, and that noise is still gone. I think I am done with Goodyear belts and (hoses?). My Daytona had some issues with a Goodyear timing belt as well. The Hyundai had its original Hyundai belt on it, I believe.

But so far, my favorite part of this work was the heater core replacement. The heater now has that ever-eluding "inferno" setting. During my maiden test run, I had to turn the heater down, which has never happened before in temperatures below 30 degrees.

So, it is once again running great and it drives great as well. The terminal cancer the car has is what gets me down. I really think that I am going to head south and get a rust-free one when this one breaks in half. It runs great and sounds great now.

Author:  phantomrt [ Sat Mar 08, 2014 7:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 2 Sets of burned valves in 11k miles

Today, I scored a "whoop de doo" for most people. Ever since I had the car, it had an ill-secured aftermarket Clarion cassette radio in it. Cassette players are nice because one can play mp3s with them, which can't be done with a CD player. Well, I hauled off a Geo Tracker to the scrap yard today, and within all the crap inside I found a genuine Geo cassette radio. Well, it fits the metro well--it plugs right in and I modified the mounting bracket to get it into place. It has much better sound than the clarion and works perfectly. It has big buttons, a readable clock, etc. Thats what I never liked about aftermarket car stereos.

Mileage is up to 222,xxx now. Finally, some warm weather has reached Minnesota and it appears as though it is actually going to stay. maybe I can start getting upper 40 mpgs again instead of lower 40's.

Author:  phantomrt [ Sun May 11, 2014 8:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 2 Sets of burned valves in 11k miles

Mileage is knocking on the door of 226,000 now. In about 500 miles, I will have driven this thing 100,000 since 2008.

But the body is in such poor shape now. There is a gigantic rust hole around the lock cylinder for the rear hatch, so lets just say, no key is necessary anymore. Anyone have a beat up car for sale outside of the rust belt states? All I am concerned about is the chassis, since I have so many newer mechanical parts in this one that I can swap over.

Author:  phantomrt [ Sun Aug 10, 2014 10:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 2 Sets of burned valves in 11k miles

Well, it looks like this is the end of the car... at least the chassis. It didn't quite make it to 230,000 miles. I was driving down a somewhat rough street and every time I hit a bump the car wanted to veer to the left or the right and each bump started to sound louder than it usually was.

I arrived at a friend's house for the evening and pulled the wheels off to see if there was anything obvious wrong. i didn't find anything. I knew the tires were heavily worn, but enough to get by for the time being. By the time I got home about 45 miles away, a front tire was severely worn. Not down to the cords yet, but getting close.

The "frame rails" that runs along the under the car on each side are separated. I can push on each end of the separated rail by hand and see it move independently of the opposing side. I guess that's it. I also noticed that both rear brake lines have developed leaks due to rust-through. That would undoubtedly be a chore to fix. My reinforcement of the typical control arm mounting point seems to have held up well.

I have upped the ante on finding a replacement chassis now. I found one in a suburb of Phoenix that I think will be good enough to drive home. It is multi-colored, but that is okay--I am looking for another beater.

Author:  phantomrt [ Thu Sep 04, 2014 11:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 2 Sets of burned valves in 11k miles

Thanks to Craigslist, I found a replacement car in Phoenix. RUST FREE! Over labor day weekend, I got on a plane, flew there, and drove the $700 car home. The interior is foul, there are a bunch of things wrong with the car all over the place, but it made the 1800 mile drive... it even made the drive to the top of Pike's Peak in Colorado on the way home.

It has oversized tires on it, but there seems to be something not quite right about it. I know that the bigger tires will result in less power, as will the higher elevation, but the G10 could not get out of its own way in the mountains. Perhaps the exhaust is plugged or ????? I drove it today, and it seems normal. I know it is normal for vehicles to get sluggish at higher elevations and all, but dang.... holy cow was this thing a turd. Even in Phoenix, which I believe to be at 2,000 feet, it did not seem to want to wind out very well.

Before the drive home, I checked the timing belt and it was in good shape and the cam timing was dead on. I did not have a timing light on me, but the distributor is cranked to the fully advanced position. Even at the 2000 feet elevation of Phoenix (2000 feet, right?) it seemed to fall on its face at higher RPM/engine loads. It didn't feel like fuel starvation, but rather lack of ignition advance or restricted exhaust. I shorted the timing check terminal, and it didn't seem to affect how the engine ran at all. Hmmmmmm. Any ideas on this?

The fuel pump is loud, so I will be using that out of my old car, since it is much newer and virtually silent. I'll be swapping the entire tank since the tank was new as well. I'll have a spare rust-free tank that I could probably sell easily in Minnesota.

All in all, it ran good enough, and the engine sounds solid. It consumed almost no oil over the 1800 mile drive. Odometer on the car says 194,xxx. Transmission seems to work perfectly, and the clutch is good enough for now. My driving is easy on clutches, so it should last a good, long time.

As I pulled off the highway in Flagstaff, AZ, it was idling really high--like 3,000+. By the time I got to some towns in Colorado, it was probably close to 4,000 RPM. The idle control motor is malfunctioning or something. I took it apart, and the motor itself runs fine, but I have to test the closed throttle switch, which I think may be some kind of magnetic reed switch. This has the potential to suck balls to get to work. The other car does not have the "upgraded" emissions, so it has a different method of idle control.

Drivers' door handle is broken, and the door can't be opened from the outside. Passenger side mirror glass is busted (getting taken from the old car) Anyways, lots of work ahead of me here.

As my friend John and I were passing through Pagosa Springs, CO late in the dark evening, we got caught speeding going down a hill into the town. The police officer asked for his license (usual), proof of insurance (usual) and registration (which is something I have NEVER been asked for, don't think that I ever had, and honestly did not know what to tell him. I explained how I purchased the car and that my brother actually paid for it and mailed me the signed title, which I took to the Minnesota DMV to get the title transferred and to get license plates (We get them on the spot). I flew to Arizona with the license plates so I had good plates on the car to drive home with. Since it was my car, he came to my side of the car and asked me where I got the license plates from. I replied, "From the Minnesota Department of Motor Vehicles." I got the impression that he did not like that answer. I was also asked that if I just bought it, where is the title, and I once again replied, "The Minnesota Department of Motor Vehicles has it" (we have to wait 6-8 weeks for a transferred title to show up) and again, i don't think he liked that "smart" remark either. As for proof of insurance, I had none, but it is fact that a vehicle I purchase is automatically insured for 30 days after purchase date or when my existing policy expires, whichever comes first. He gave me the impression that in Colorado, you need to show proof of insurance before you are even able to register a vehicle, but I had to explain that is not the case in Minnesota, and that insurance cards are typically mailed to me, so unless the United States Post Office had matter/energy transporters, there's no way that I could have the cards yet. Besides, they are so easily forged that it makes a person wonder why they even bother to check. I guess that people without insurance are too stupid to not whip up some phoneys with Photoshop. Even then, what stops a person from cancelling their policy mid-year? After pumping us with random questions in what I am guessing was an attempt to get us to slip up and issuing a citation for the speeding, the police officers explained that we are free to go but asked whether or not we had a problem with them searching the car. Normally, I would have said, no problem--you can go ahead and waste your time and search the nastiness of the car's interior and I hope you get sick the next day from it. But, since I did not know the previous owners, nor where the car has been, blah blah blah, I politely explained this to the police and told them that if they found something, I am f*cked so to be safe, they cannot search it.

Maybe they can't run out-of-state plates or something. I have seen registration cards in some vehicles, but unless police cannot run out-of-state plates, what is the purpose of having such a card? Minnesota has no such cards, and the closest thing I could come to is the carbon copy of the papers that are filled out during the title transfer process.

Oh well. I am satisfied with the vehicle purchase so far. It is what I was expecting. How often is it that you buy a $700 car and drive it across the country with almost no problems?

Author:  phantomrt [ Fri Sep 12, 2014 9:35 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 2 Sets of burned valves in 11k miles

I'll have to start taking pictures soon...

I started with the interior of the car. The seats were destroyed, so those are going to the scrapper with the old car. I pressure washed the carpet and scrubbed it down and it turned out quite nice. I also thoroughly rinsed the carpet pad beneath. Now it does not stink anymore. The floorboards of the car are MINT, and I removed the rubber plugs from the floorboards and hosed/scrubbed away the several dozen ounces of dried up soft drinks. The drivers door handle was broken, the windows went up and down really hard. Since both doors were replaced, those locks were different than the ignition and the hatch, the tint on the passenger side window was terrible and full of bubbles, so you couldn't see out of it very well. Needless to say, a lot of work had to be done.

Using the best parts out of the 2 cars, I removed and exfoliated every interior part and re-installed. I used the glass from the old car, lock cylinders as well, and got a new Dorman door handle for the drivers' side. Now the only lock cylinder that is different is the ignition, which will get swapped out with the entire steering column when the dash comes out. I plan on swapping out the heater core as well, since the old car has a new one. The new car's dash has been beat up badly by the Arizona sun and heat. I still need to clean up the seats I swapped over from the old car, but the Bissell should do well with those. They are in much better shape. Also, the drivers' door panel always have those pockets in them... well, since I had an extra, I added a pocket to the passenger side door panel. Easy to do and it looks normal. Once the seats are cleaned up, the interior will look and smell great. The old car has also donated its passenger side mirror.

I plan on buying a quart of General Motors' grape scented gear oil to dump into the door drains--this will help prevent rust, and unlike "normal" gear oil, it won't leave the interior of the car smelling like 80w90 gear oil... at least, that is the theory. It stopped the rust on the bottom of the doors of my Dad's 1993 Grand Cherokee many years ago. Re-applying the oil every 2 years or so seems to do the trick.

It still needs some body work, which may have to wait until next summer based on how the weather is cooling off already and the other projects that I have going on. I am going to try salvaging the right front fender, probably find another hood somewhere, and eventually I think I am going to borrow a paint gun and do a quick re-spray of the entire car--I'm thinking red or blue. I don't plan on doing a really good job, but instead making it look much more "presentable".

I will also want to get a wheel alignment done and some new 12" tires. The 13's that are on the car are of the wrong size and I am missing the 4th tire which will make them all match.

So far, I spent $750 on the car (Gave my brother an extra $50 tip for helping me out)
$160 in fuel to get it home
$free plane ticket to Arizona (credit card reward points)
$35 Dorman door handle
$95 in Plates, registration, title transfer, etc (the plates on the old car expired and it was time anyway, so arguably I can subtract ~$46.
$36 in 2 quarts of the gear lube (I got free shipping from amazon if I bought 2 quarts)
$6 in a turn signal bulb enroute home from Phoenix

Will have ~$360 in tires soon...
I'm hoping for about $100 worth the scrap from the old car... and will try to sell off the engine and transmission. I'd keep them for spares, but its not really worth the room it takes up here.

I expect to have about $1550 wrapped up into this car when it is all said and done.

I also plan on drilling drain holes in the typical frame rust spots--where they typically break. I feel that is the problem--it literally rusts from the inside out as moisture gets in there and has no place to go but through the metal.

Anyways, lots of work still ahead...

Author:  phantomrt [ Wed Sep 24, 2014 8:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 2 Sets of burned valves in 11k miles

The car continues to come together. All I have to do on the inside is shampoo my front seats which came from the donor car. Heater core is swapped, dashboard (and VIN tags) are swapped, etc. I took the best interior parts from each of the cars and used them. I swapped all the lock cylinders from the old car so they all match.

The old rusty car is now gone. Someone paid me $250 for it. It had the complete engine, transmission, clutch, etc. I took the exhaust, control arms, rear side window glass, fuel tank / pump and a plethora of other stuff. It basically still ran and drove. I could have done better, but I would have to go through the work of hauling it to the scrapper and leaving the engine/transmission sit around waiting for a buyer.

I sold the rust free Arizona fuel tank. I used the new replacement tank from the old car which had a newer fuel pump in it.

Now I am straightening out the front bumper and misc body damage up front. It'll come together.

Also, I am working on getting the ISC valve to work. It doesn't appear that they are available anymore, so I am hoping that I can install a new hall effect sensor within it, which should fix its problem.

Author:  phantomrt [ Sat Mar 07, 2015 9:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 2 Sets of burned valves in 11k miles

It was several thousands of miles ago since I got the "new" car on the road, which is up to 199,000 miles now, and I bought it with something like 193k. Aside from some torn CV axle boots, there have not been any real, actual problems. The front crank seal started leaking pretty well and the timing belt, which I thought looked pretty good when I inspected it in Arizona, had teeth starting to separate. So, it got a new belt.

The starter motor appears newer than the rest of the car, but the solenoid plunger seems to be sticky when cold. If you know to expect it, you can get by just fine so far. But when you turn the key to START and nothing happens, it gets a bit worrisome, but if you just hold the key there for up to 5 seconds, the starter kicks in and goes. I'll have to tear this apart over the summer and fix it.

I got the ISC motor working. Its hall effect sensor switch inside of it was shot, and then it was a great big ordeal to get that working again properly. I sourced a new hall sensor, and then one must be careful to orient the magnets accordingly, and do not install the DC motor in "backwards" so that its polarity is wrong and it spins the wrong way.
Combine these hurdles with an idle stop screw that was totally fubar in adjustment, and a mis-adjusted throttle position sensor, and combine all that with incorrect ignition timing which made it idle at a speed undesirable by the ECU, and lets just say...I was REALLY getting close to installing a DPDT switch to do manual idle adjustment. But now it runs perfectly after LOTS of hours of dicking around. If the service manual states to not adjust any of this stuff, THIS IS WHY.

I've also been having issues with the throttle butterfly sticking in the REALLY cold, like below zero fahrenheit. My old car had this happen ONCE, but this car has it happen fairly regularly. Its definitely not the throttle cable that is sticking, it is the throttle valve itself. When warm, it operates absolutely perfectly smooth. It seems to be something comparable to carburetor icing, but doesn't happen when driving down the road. It always happens after sitting in the cold for several hours.

It did develop a sort of misfire right when the first cold weather snap of the season occurred. It fired up and ran fine out of the garage, but after a few miles down the road, it felt much like a faulty secondary ignition issue--hit the gas, and it sputters on all 3 cyls--, but after swapping all that stuff out with spare components, the symptoms remained. I think that what happened was moisture in the MAP sensor line froze, and caused a restriction. After holding the throttle in a no-vacuum position (and severe engine stumbling condition) for roughly 5 seconds, it would clear up and run perfect, and after a few seconds in vacuum, I could repeat the symptoms. This has never happened to me before in any car. The MAP sensor was simply not responding quickly enough, for whatever reason. After a weather warm up and a few days of this happening, the problem has not returned.

The 7+ year old battery is weak. It always started, but crank speed REALLY started to drop off after about the first 2 revolutions of the engine. It should get me through the summer and then it is new battery time next fall. I actually opted to park the car and drive my POS Buick for a couple weeks to have to try pop starting the car in -10 degree weather.

Aside from the car being multi-colored, I'm confident that it is one of the nicest, cleanest Metros that can be found in the state, unless there is a whole bunch of elusive Grandma cars out there. As I was messing with the car last fall, the air conditioner took a charge and worked. During a few winter weather warm-ups, I felt the compressor kick in, so it seems to be holding well enough for a Minnesota car. So, this will be a big bonus for July. The engine consumes some oil--roughly a quart in 3,000 miles which isn't bad at all.

I bought back the engine from my old car and sold/Installed it into another person's car who got my phone number from this forum somewhere. I never heard back, so I am going to assume for now that the old engine is still going strong. It always ran great for me ever since the oil consumption issue was fixed. It had a lot of new parts, leaked nothing, etc.

Author:  phantomrt [ Sat Nov 14, 2015 6:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 2 Sets of burned valves in 11k miles

Well, it has been a long time since the last posting.

I am up to 211k miles now. Its still running strong, although consumes a quart of oil or so in about 2,500 miles, which isn't bad by any means, but I liked the old engine that didn't consume almost anything. I got really busy and had to neglect my own vehicles in favor of fixing everyone else's, and when I finally changed the oil in it, I pulled the stick out and there was nothing on it. Not cool.

The battery did not survive the summer. I went on vacation to Colorado with my Jeep and by the time I got back, it didn't have the juice to crank the engine anymore. I pop started it a few times before I gave in. It was used back in 2008, so it had a good life. Ironically, I junked out a Ford Escort due to rust issues just a week earlier which had a pretty new battery in it. It fits well in the Metro.

Otherwise, there's not much else to report. I started a new job almost a month ago that requires me to commute a total of 30 extra miles per day, so this has been the car to do the job.

Author:  phantomrt [ Sat Nov 12, 2016 1:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 2 Sets of burned valves in 11k miles

It has been almost an entire year since I have posted an update.

The "new" car is now up to 227,xxx miles. A year ago, almost exactly, I was at 211,xxx. Interestingly, that is only 16,000 miles. My commute is 90+ miles a day round-trip, but I do occasionally drive my Jeep and 1991 Lebaron convertible. Also, the motorcycle gets some miles. I am somewhat surprised at how "few" of miles I have racked up over the last year.

It has been a pretty good car. I've only had a few nit-picky things to deal with. The rear shocks are leaking and I have replacements, but the ride quality seems reasonable yet and it doesn't bounce and hop all over the road, so I am procrastinating taking care of that. The tires are wearing quite evenly and nicely. I did replace the CV axle boots--the actual joint inside did have some somewhat-significant trauma in the usual wear spots, but I just threw it back together with new boots and grease and they are almost 100% silent.

The 1st gear synchronizer decided to quit letting me downshift at any forward speed (the notches were worn out in it) way back in the early spring of 2016 or so. I drove it quite awhile by manually rev-matching it it and so on. Then, later in the summer, the 2nd gear synchronizer did the same thing. The interesting part is that it was very sudden when it quit working. I remember doing a "test" of it since 1st gear shares the same shift fork, so I tried stuffing it into 2nd from like 30 mph which I rarely do. It went right in as it should. Then, the next turn in the road, I had to downshift to 2nd and it didn't go. That was the last time I successfully downshifted to 2nd without speeding up the geartrain by holding it to first for awhile before I could get it into 2nd.

Oil in it was gear oil. It smelled and had the consistency of 80w90 gear oil. Like all my other manual transmissions, it'll be getting 5w30 engine oil. I just finished a teardown of the transmission and replaced the 1st and 2nd gear synchro rings. I found it interesting that synchronizer rings are easily acquired on ebay (bought all 5 for about $30) and the shift shaft seal is also readily available on ebay. The rubber bellows boot is, too. I bought these items as well. Things are so easy nowadays. We, as citizens really don't have much to complain about, regardless of who our president is. All the gears and bearings appeared to be in excellent shape, although some shift forks did seem to have more wear to them than I would have liked to see, but most of my miles are highway miles. The 3,4,5 synchronizer rings were in good shape so I left them be.

The pilot bearing in the crankshaft was pretty rough, so I replaced it with one that I had laying around from my old car. The clutch disc appeared to be in excellent shape, and I never had an issue with the clutch, aside from the grease on the release bearing being thick and sticky (fixed that with the recent transmission R&R). I am not sure if the rest of the "excess" clutch pedal effort is coming from the cable or something up underneath the dash. I will have to investigate this further.

Also, in the last month, the cam seal started leaking heavily and the valve cover gasket as well. The rubber on each was very hard. I just hope that the leak isn't coming from where the oil pump bolts to the block. I can't remember what is there.... Many vehicles of this age that have rubber O-rings sealing the pump to the block have O-rings in the same or worse condition than the aforementioned cam and valve cover seals. There appears to be a metal gasket there, so it *shouldn't* be where the leak is coming from. I hope it is all dribbling down from the cam seal and valve cover gasket.

Oil consumption still seems reasonable, although I think the recently developed leaks are contributing to the oil loss in a measurable amount.

I am heading back to the garage right now to finish it up.

Author:  Woodie [ Sun Nov 13, 2016 4:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 2 Sets of burned valves in 11k miles

phantomrt wrote:
The 1st gear synchronizer decided to quit letting me downshift at any forward speed (the notches were worn out in it) way back in the early spring of 2016 or so. I drove it quite awhile by manually rev-matching it it and so on. Then, later in the summer, the 2nd gear synchronizer did the same thing. The interesting part is that it was very sudden when it quit working. I remember doing a "test" of it since 1st gear shares the same shift fork, so I tried stuffing it into 2nd from like 30 mph which I rarely do. It went right in as it should. Then, the next turn in the road, I had to downshift to 2nd and it didn't go. That was the last time I successfully downshifted to 2nd without speeding up the geartrain by holding it to first for awhile before I could get it into 2nd.

I'm not surprised that was the last time it worked, this is gross abuse. A downshift into second at anything over ten mph MUST be double clutched. A downshift into first if the car is moving is unnecessary and reckless.

Especially with gear lube in there, Synchromesh is the way to go.

Author:  phantomrt [ Mon Nov 14, 2016 5:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 2 Sets of burned valves in 11k miles


In my previous metro, I bought it with a bad 2nd gear synchronizer ring. It had the exact same problem of not being able to downshift to 2nd. I replaced it and drove it from 126,xxx miles to 229,xxx miles. (All of which is well-documented in this long, monotonous thread) I did a whole lot of downshifting to 2nd gear at speeds much greater than 10 mph without manually syncing the gears as I do with all my manual transmissions. If I didn't mind manually syncing gears, I would have never bothered to fix this transmission. From the looks of the wear of the notch of the brass ring, it wasn't going to be long before it quit allowing upshifting, too. The notch on the ring that wears out was allowing the cogs to not align with the cogs on the slider mechanism, meaning it would speed up the geartrain appropriately, but not actually engage into place. Upshifting and downshifting places forces on opposite ends of the notch. The upshift side wasn't far behind the downshift side, but was still allowing it to do its job. Its tough to explain without having the geartrain in front of a person to see how it works.

I later sold the transmission to a guy on craigslist (the whole car actually) who stuffed it into his car and was like, "WOW! I've never driven one of these cars that would downshift to 2nd gear all by itself!"

For about 100,000 of those 103,000 miles, it had 5w30 conventional valvoline engine oil in it. The transmission was never a problem for that entire time. With 80w90 gear oil, I could forget about downshifting to 1st gear for at least 3 miles during the winter months.

I have been driving manual transmission vehicles for 19 years now. I drive them all the same way. I have never killed a synchronizer ring ever before. They all had 5w30 engine oil in them. It is my belief that what causes the aformentioned notches to wear as they did is the result of 3 things: 1.) LOTS of shifting. 2.)Aggressive shifting, which forces the geartrain to increase and decrease in speed rapidly, thus puts a lot of force on those brass notches, and 3.) thick gear lube--which yet further increases the forces necessary to increase the speed of the geartrain due to viscous resistance. With a less viscous fluid, the gears spin easier, and the syncrhonizers work less hard.... much like a liberal.

Everyone brags about the "Redline MTL" stuff at $14+ per quart and the AC Delco "synchromesh" at $12+ per quart. This $3.25/quart stuff really works well. It is a tried and true manual transmission lubricant.

There is Jet Ski oil. There is outboard engine oil. <--seriously, what is the difference between these two?) There is snowmobile oil, there is bar and chain lube for the chainsaw. There is motorcycle oil. There is pneumatic tool oil. There is air compressor oil. The next thing to hit the market will be nutrient-enrichened succulent plant water enhanced with calcium and magnesium to promote strong growth for about $3.00/gallon at the local grocery store.

Author:  phantomrt [ Mon Nov 14, 2016 5:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 2 Sets of burned valves in 11k miles

Post #6 shows the notches that wear out in these transmissions. Some transmissions have steel synchronizer rings for 1st and 2nd gear which prevent this from happening.

Author:  Woodie [ Tue Nov 15, 2016 4:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 2 Sets of burned valves in 11k miles

Sounds as if a different person wrote those two posts, I was just going by what you said in the first one.

Synchromesh costs $9, you can often find it cheaper than that on Ebay.

Author:  phantomrt [ Sun Dec 25, 2016 12:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 2 Sets of burned valves in 11k miles

You can get the Synchromesh stuff for $9.xx off of ebay, but unless you live very local to the seller, you are going to pay for shipping of it. Or you can get lucky and/or buy over $100 of stuff from Summit racing to get free shipping.

Even if the fluid is superior in operation and protection, the vast majority of people who own such vehicles don't even own and/or operate them long enough to realize any of the benefits, if any. For the last 1.3 years, I did at least 94 miles a day, 5 days per week through wind, rain, heat, cold, snow, thunderstorms, and essentially daily extended 75+ mph highway blasts. Prior to that, it was at least 60 miles a day with a G10 under the hood since September of 2008.
If that doesn't stress transmission fluid, I don't know what else will, aside from heavy towing which I am not about to do with this car.

The car just passed 230,000 miles. We had some temperatures drop to where the high temperature was about -7 for the day and I had some starting issues. The battery and starter performed sufficiently and as well as expected, but the last time I had starting issues was when I had valve problems, but this time, it seemed more like the engine was flooding instead. I tore into the secondary ignition stuff and found some worn spark plugs and a cap/rotor that weren't optimal anymore. I also did a compression test and got ~160 on all 3 cylinders (with a crap compression tester that leaks). All those ignition components were replaced and now I wait for the next blast of arctic cold to see if I fixed anything. I was always able to get it to fire up without a jumpstart or other assistance, but it definitely required some coaxing.

Author:  phantomrt [ Sat Jan 28, 2017 8:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 2 Sets of burned valves in 11k miles

Just a bit more than 2 months after I had it taken apart for the cam seal replacement, the timing belt decided to snap while I was driving home from work. It was just humming along at about 4,000 rpm at 75 mph and with no noise and no warning, it just snapped. I suppose that there is a chance that I did not tension the belt properly after the cam seal replacement or something to that nature, but one thing that is for sure is that the belt did break. The tensioner pulley still spun freely with no grittiness to it, although it did feel as though there wasn't any grease in it anymore. During the cam seal replacement process, I do remember giving the belt a very thorough visual inspection and I saw *zero* trauma to it. No cracking, no teeth that were compromised, etc. It was a Gates brand belt and I think it only had about 35,000 miles on it. The car had about 193,xxx miles on it when I bought it, and by the time it got home from Phoenix, it had to have almost 195,xxx miles at which point I did replace the belt with a new one. So with it breaking at 231,xxx, I guess that is about 36,000 miles. They were mostly highway miles, so the ratio of hours of operation to miles on the engine should be far less than average.

On my old Metro, I had about 90,xxx on the belt when I had to remove it for a head gasket replacement, and at that time, there was a tiny tear in the belt. It didn't have much life left in it. That was a Goodyear belt.

The reason for the belt failure remains a mystery to me. The only ones that I have ever seen fail were old, installed improperly, and/or had a gazillion miles on them. This one was relatively new and the backside of the belt was in perfect shape all around, suggesting that the cause of failure was not related to a seizing tensioner bearing. I also always install my timing belt covers, so I have high doubts that some piece of debris got kicked up into there and contributed to the snapping belt. It wasn't soaked with oil, either.

I tossed on a new belt and tensioner and it purrs like a kitten once again.

A friend of mine was able to leave work a bit early and was able to drag me home with a tow strap. Although I have done this many times in the past with other vehicles, let me just say that the tiny brakes of the Suzuki Swift get really unhappy when they are used to stop a Ford Explorer.

Author:  phantomrt [ Wed May 03, 2017 7:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 2 Sets of burned valves in 11k miles

A few months later, and I am now up to 238,000 miles. That is about 7,000 miles in about 3.5 months. Not bad.

Zero issues with the car since the last debacle with the broken timing belt.

Except for about a month ago, it really started getting doggy for some reason. There was a specific rpm/throttle position combination that caused the power to take a dive. While looking it over in the parking lot, I could goose the throttle and see exhaust smoke... grey in color. Zero coolant loss for several months now, so it can't be a head gasket issue. It smelled as though it was running rich. I didn't have time to work on it, so I drove it home, slept, and left for work early the next morning and the problem never returned. Maybe a bad coolant temp sensor connection? Maybe the fuel trims were outta wack from a goofy oxygen sensor? I don't know.

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