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Thread: Engine woes-just had to walk away

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    Registered User madkaw's Avatar
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    Default Engine woes-just had to walk away

    It hasn't been a very good week and the Z doesn't want to run right.
    I have actually been able to find time to work on it, which usually is a problem. But after hours of troubleshooting and working on the car I seem no closer to an answer.It's one of those troubleshooting nightmares that has caused me to walk away before I do something stupid----like give up Z-ing. Symptoms are erratic and only sometimes can I duplicate. I am scratching my head and loosing heart and motivation. I love my Z, but it hasn't been fun lately just working on it while we have had the best weather all year.

    I will try and describe my issues-though it will sound vague; I have been around the world and back so my descriptions might seem lucid.

    The engine sounds like it has a miss and won't idle as smoothly as it used to. It feels down on power. Laboring might be a good description of the idle.
    At first-- cylinders 4-6 seemed to be the culprit. Plugs looked dark and #4 was the worse. But how does half a mikuni run rich? I also had number look dark, but for the most part, everytime I checked 1-3 looked lean or no color.
    Now most of this has been idle time in the garage, but those general plug reading were after a drive also. I have seen the plugs 4-6 look both clean and dark during all this troubleshooting, but #4 has been the most consistantly fouled.
    My AFR's bounce around quite a bit at first . I have dual exhausts so I only have the O2 sensor in one side or another. At first the sensor was in cylinders 1-3 and the reading were not bad, but erratic, not stable at idle. it would run at 14 and start a bouncing routine and then look lean. I switched the o2 sensor to the rear bank and it was pig rich-like 10.5-11 at idle-hence the dark plugs. I had to turn the pilot screws on 4,5,6, in a 1/2 turn just to get the AFR's to 13.5.
    Keep in mind that my jetting is at a known good setting that has worked great before. I've ran these pilots jets and screw settings with no issues before. I have checked floats and they are spot on. I have pulled the covers after running and they are all at the same level. All my pilot screws were replaced and all the tips are in excellent shape.
    I suspected ignition or my Megasquirt because of the randomness of the issue. But I replaced all components with a 280zx dizzy and wires and no change. Replaced the plugs too. Ignition timing checked with the dizzy and the megasquirt.
    I checked all valves and adjusted as necessary-nothing to crazy.
    Vacuum guage only show.ed 12HG at idle taken from a port on my vacuum log. I thought that a bit low.
    Sprayed everything down with started fluid and could find nothing.
    I removed the complete vacuum log assembly and capped off all port openings. So there is nothing hooked to the intake.
    Checked torque on intake bolts and noticed one exhaust flange nut very loose at the very end of the header.
    I hooked up a coolant pressure tester to see if pressure was building anywhere --- as in a bad HG. I set the tester at 13psi, the same as the cap and pressure rose slightly to 15psi and stayed. No bubbles in radiator and level seems to be the same. Nothing in the oil.
    Compression test done
    1-205
    2-205
    3-205
    4-215
    5-205
    6-210
    Not sure what to make of those readings, but cylinder 4 jumps out at me a little. I'm pretty sure these are within percentage limits of each other.

    So I proceed to switching out carbs. I swap the 3&4 for 1&2. I run the car and bingo, #2 is now fouled-I found it. #2 would have been #4 cylinder so it must be one side of my carb. So I switch out pilots, and e-tube(which should have much to do with idle). Now #2 isn't fouling, but the engine still idle like sh!t. I should say that I checked all the O-rings when I had ALL the carbs off.
    This is what i meant about nothing being conclusive or concrete. I have run and cleaned plugs several times and nothing seems very consistant.

    I had to walk away after about 10-12 hours in the last two days. Not sure if a bad intake gasket would cause such issues, or a avccum leak in general. At first my gut said HG, and I'm not totally convinced it's not, but no definite eveidence to warrant pulling the head off.

    Valve timing? Well it's not so easy for me to determine this. I have an adjustable sprocket and I degreed this cam in many moons ago. I will have to really ponder on how I will check my valve timing. I have looked down in the hole to see if my chain adjuster popped out or something, but didn't see anything alarming. Could the chain jump a tooth? Unlikely if not impossible, but there is no quick way for me to determine this.

    My gut says HG or Valve timing(ignition is safely eliminated), but don't want to go on a gut feeling.
    Give me some ideas guys
    Steve
    71 240z,bw-5sp 2.4-40 over,balanced,e-88,big valves,ported&polished, stage2,header, triple Mikuni's 40's
    3.90 Subaru STI LSD

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    Sorry for your troubles. What you are going through can be very frustrating.

    So, you previously had a Megasquirt setup managing ignition only, but changed to a 280zx electronic setup to eliminate as an issue? Any possibility that the zx setup has problems also?

    Have you done a leakdown test?

    Could it be fuel pump / fuel pressure related? I know that the different plug reading results you are getting between your two Mikuni halves seem to logically eliminate that as a problem but....

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    I've watched my fuel pressure gauge when i can(in the engine compartment),but that might not tell me if I have a flow problem.Nice thing about the MS is I can turn my pump on without running the car. So I will measure that next to make sure I am getting adequate flow. It makes me think pump when I watched the AFR's slowly bobble to the lean side.

    I did discover that my rod linkages needed work. I was just flipping the throttle while leaning over the fender and noticed the levers not at the same exact moment. In fact one of the ball socket ends is worn which allows for movement without throtlle action.
    Steve
    71 240z,bw-5sp 2.4-40 over,balanced,e-88,big valves,ported&polished, stage2,header, triple Mikuni's 40's
    3.90 Subaru STI LSD

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    Torch Wielding Villager gogriz91's Avatar
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    I wonder if a Lokar throttle cable swap would help? Most seem to think it improves throttle response.
    '73 HLS30 129806 ; L-28, street cam, SUs, 5-speed, Koni's, Suspension techniques springs, swaybars, 3.90 R200 LSD

    Heavily medicated for your protection

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    Nova Scotia,Canada,Earth Blue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by madkaw View Post

    I did discover that my rod linkages needed work. I was just flipping the throttle while leaning over the fender and noticed the levers not at the same exact moment. In fact one of the ball socket ends is worn which allows for movement without throtlle action.

    I think you found the problem
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    Ah the old sloppy linkage problem. So many joints, so many places for a little bit of slop and bind and twist to add up to trouble.

    Who's idea was multiple carbs anyway? So beautiful and so much trouble. So help me if I ever find him, I'll lock him up and make his food only accessible when a complex linkage of bars, pulleys, turnbuckles and wires are working JUST so. Give him a big flat blade worn our screwdriver as his only tool to adjust it. Couple days here and there of working "ok", but mostly months on end of coughing and spitting stink and bad mileage... Me thinks he will starve very slowly.. Bwaaahahahahahahahahahahaa..

    Maybe its time for a matched motor servo on each carb shaft and a drive by wire pedal....
    Last edited by zKars; 07-21-2014 at 10:22 AM.
    Mikes Z car likes this.
    -----------------------------------------
    Jim
    73 240Z HLS30 149331
    69 510 PL510 77603

    www.zKars.com
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    Registered User madkaw's Avatar
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    Not conclusive or thoroughly investigated , but though it is a problem I don't think it's my overall issue. I only had a little while to play after discovering this, but it wasn't the night and day difference I expected. The jury is still out.
    These carbs did/have run beautifully with te response of a sport bike when blipping the throttle. I would never consider cable option as well as throttle feels and works.

    Another thing I noticed and don't want to read too much into is the amount of condensation dripping from my exhaust. It hasn't been that humid here but I have been doing a lot of idling. The drips don't seem to ever stop.
    Looks like water only.
    Steve
    71 240z,bw-5sp 2.4-40 over,balanced,e-88,big valves,ported&polished, stage2,header, triple Mikuni's 40's
    3.90 Subaru STI LSD

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    Rust Free'ish zKars's Avatar
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    I hear ya Steve, its not just the linkage, its just making the overall problem seem worse. Just had to get that off my chest.

    Water is one of the products of combustion, what you're seeing is not from ambient humidity, or heaven's forbid, cooling system sourced.

    Not sure what combustion conditions make more or less water, but it sounds like you may have found a cure for California's drought! Collect that water and send it west!

    Hard to imagine many failure modes that cause a too-rich condition. plugging, air leaks etc tend to make things too lean. Spilling fuel due to too high pressure is all both barrel related though.

    Hey, you haven't lost any solder out of your bleed pipe hole filling effort have you?et

    How about damage to the inner venturi where the main jet fuel comes out?

    scrapping the barrel here, how about the "jet block" that the main jet tubes mount in, its a separate thing, and it screws into the main housing, maybe the screws are loose? The screws that hold it in place are accessible from the accel pump cover. Maybe getting fuel in where it doesn't belong?

    Loose/missing nuts/screws that hold the main venturi and choke venturi in place from the outside?

    Did you replace one of your throttle linkage mounting bolts with a longer one and do a number (crack it, break it, bend it) on the venturi just inside?
    Last edited by zKars; 07-21-2014 at 02:09 PM.
    -----------------------------------------
    Jim
    73 240Z HLS30 149331
    69 510 PL510 77603

    www.zKars.com
    www.calgaryzclub.ca
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    Registered User madkaw's Avatar
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    Jim,
    I appreciate all the input-truly.
    Not sure that isn't one of those deals that I have made worse by trying to fix the wrong thing with an adjustment here or there.
    I will eliminate the possibility of a faulty fuel pump when I get back to town . I will do volume test there.
    I also need to make sure any linkage issues are resolved.

    This has just been a total kick in the balls for this summer. Too many nickle and dime issues already and this just takes all the fun out of my hobby. Thought I would be at the dyno by now and pushing forward on my custom FI project.

    Hopefully walking away will reset my attitude. I about have to take a week off since the family is going to CA for a week.
    Steve
    71 240z,bw-5sp 2.4-40 over,balanced,e-88,big valves,ported&polished, stage2,header, triple Mikuni's 40's
    3.90 Subaru STI LSD

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    Your mention of solder was noted and it has been on my mind. I know my bleed pipe alterations are still in tack, but wonder if loose solder from previous attempts have made their way somewhere not good. I tried to be careful but might have gotten sloppy and not cleaned up properly and now have solder blocking a passage. I'm not too far from breaking the carbs all down anyway.
    Cursory inspection shows clean as a whistle

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    Registered User madkaw's Avatar
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    Default Still don't know

    So I pulled off the carbs and put compressed air to everything. Didn't see anything in these carbs that is causing my issues. Put them back on and ran the car around the block and still bad.
    Tested the fuel pump and she flowed good.
    Linkage was adjusted up and it runs the same. The issue I get is from cylinder to cylinder on the same carb-not a linkage issue. I checked the butterflies and they are in sync-measured with a feeler gauge.
    I pulled the intake hoping to find a bad intake gasket, but it looks great.

    Now it's decision time-pull the head or not. Compression is good on 3&4 with a compression tester. Really need to do a leak down, but don't think I have a compressor that will put out enough pressure. I need to check into this.
    Visually, 3&4 intake side of head look worse then all the others. The inside of the intake runners(inside relative to each other) have a bunch of crap on them. i will try and get a pic, but it looks like oil that is coming from the guide. That's just a wild guess.
    Steve
    71 240z,bw-5sp 2.4-40 over,balanced,e-88,big valves,ported&polished, stage2,header, triple Mikuni's 40's
    3.90 Subaru STI LSD

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    You sound like you re-installed the carbs in the same position. With multiple units installed, a good trouble shooting technique would be to swap two carbs and see if the trouble followed the carb or stayed.

    Since you mentioned it your first post, it points to the carb. Did something happen to change your mind?
    1971 240Z HLS30A 17574 L24-021025

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    I actually did swap carbs. I thought I found something when my #4 cylinder issue followed to the #2 after swapping the front two. Then after trying to verify with some more runs #2 looked great. That's what is making this so frustrating. When I think I have found something I can't seem to verify it. I am not totally counting out carbs and I need to get with Todd.
    I don't like what I am seeing inside the head chambers in 3&4 though.
    Steve
    71 240z,bw-5sp 2.4-40 over,balanced,e-88,big valves,ported&polished, stage2,header, triple Mikuni's 40's
    3.90 Subaru STI LSD

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    Well after walking away for a while I am back with sockets in hand. The engine is coming apart. The head is off to check HG and internals. I'd say I have a definite oil issue with combustion. Not sure if it's guides or seals but certain cylinders have that oil sheen to them. #4 is pretty bad with the top of the piston covered in a nice black oily paint. # 2 cylinder intake valve is grungy ( baked on oil?) on the back side of the valve. Head is going to the machinist
    Steve
    71 240z,bw-5sp 2.4-40 over,balanced,e-88,big valves,ported&polished, stage2,header, triple Mikuni's 40's
    3.90 Subaru STI LSD

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    The head is in the machinist hands now. He agreed that he didn't like what he saw at initial look. Valves coming out as we speak to check guides and seats. Kind of anxious for the diagnosis.
    Steve
    71 240z,bw-5sp 2.4-40 over,balanced,e-88,big valves,ported&polished, stage2,header, triple Mikuni's 40's
    3.90 Subaru STI LSD

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    Steve, I hope he finds something conclusive for you, or atleast it all sparks up nicely when you get it back together.
    Nothing worse then multiple gremlins.
    1970 240Z HLS30 01955 March/70

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    Talked to Kevin Cantrell at Schnedier cams and he said he would inspect my cam at no charge to check for any issues caused by my rockers.
    He said the rockers come from a MSA supplier when you order his cam kits- and they are no longer Nissans. He did say if a regrind was necessary he would do that at cost- whatever that entails. Hell- I might just go bigger anyway!!
    No updates from the machinists.
    Steve
    71 240z,bw-5sp 2.4-40 over,balanced,e-88,big valves,ported&polished, stage2,header, triple Mikuni's 40's
    3.90 Subaru STI LSD

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    Registered User madkaw's Avatar
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    Well the motor is completely broke down with no drama. Everything inside looked like normal wear with nothing jumping out at me. The rear main seal that has given me fits did look troubling. With the block in front of me the seal didn't look parallel to the block. It was installed at the slightest of angle. After removing the seal I noticed a mark on the bearing where the seal rode. It looked as if I put the seal on dry and the seal left a burn mark on the bearing. So I guess I did something wrong. Atleast this time I can see what I'm doing when I install the seal.
    The plan is to plastigage the bearing to check for oil clearance and paint the block a color other then black. Clean pistons and inspect them. Then reassemble.
    Steve
    71 240z,bw-5sp 2.4-40 over,balanced,e-88,big valves,ported&polished, stage2,header, triple Mikuni's 40's
    3.90 Subaru STI LSD

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    Registered User siteunseen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by madkaw View Post
    Well the motor is completely broke down with no drama.
    You'll be "walking away" now for sure.
    1972 240Z #918 New Sight Orange
    1977 280Z #305 Light Blue Metallic
    1972 240Z #110 Persimmons Red

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    Doesn't the rear main seal ride on the end of the crankshaft itself? Not a bearing? Just wondering. That's why they make those Speedi-sleeves for the end of the crankshaft. Unless you mean that it was pressed in until it touched the bearing. (Aside - Monroe puts the seal on the crankshaft before installing the shaft.)

    Might help the process to list all of the problems you were hoping to find causes for. The oil leak, high oil pressure, oily cylinders, etc. And, for your own future pondering, take a good look at the rear main seal area just to see how it's wide open to the crankcase. No oil pressure on the seal. And did you check all of the bearing orientations and locations before removing to make sure that there were no blockages? Don't forget to check the crankshaft passages themselves for blockage.

    Just living vicariously...
    1976 280Z, with some minor modifications

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    Registered User madkaw's Avatar
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    Bad terninology Zed. You are right, the seal rides on the crank. It's finished surface makes me call it a bearing for some reason.

    Zed, I was reminded of your posts regarding the seal and what was behind it and I see your point. I wanted to tie my pressure issue and leak together, but they do seem seperate issues.

    I did look at all bearings as i pulled the engine apart and so far everything as far as oil passages line up perfectly. Oil passages look clear and I have blown pressurized air through them. Still have some cleaning to do, but nothing jumps out at me yet. Need to check crank passages as you have said.

    Also going to disect the oil pump. Plastigage the bearings...

    ...and I am always open to advice and suggestions.
    Steve
    71 240z,bw-5sp 2.4-40 over,balanced,e-88,big valves,ported&polished, stage2,header, triple Mikuni's 40's
    3.90 Subaru STI LSD

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    Default some pics

    Some pics of what I have been seeing. The cam looked good but it is still at Schneiders for evaluation. You can see the build up on the back of my valves. looks more like 100k mile engine then a 10k engine. Lots of soot everywhere. The engine builder questioned my PCV system right away.
    Looks like I will be replacing valves and guides minimum.
    I still have no cause for high oil pressure, but I haven't plastigauged bearings or examined oil pump. Right now I am cleaning all the soot off the pistons tops and examining things there.
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    Steve
    71 240z,bw-5sp 2.4-40 over,balanced,e-88,big valves,ported&polished, stage2,header, triple Mikuni's 40's
    3.90 Subaru STI LSD

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    Re: deposits on valves....Were you loosing oil?

    Did the valve seals have enough clearance from the valve spring retainer when the spring was at maximum compression?
    There is scarcely anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse, and sell a little more cheaply.
    The person who buys on price alone is this man's lawful prey.


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    http://ZSportCanada.com


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    They weren't stock seals, but seals that were recommended for a higher lift cam.
    Not enough to tell if i was.
    Steve
    71 240z,bw-5sp 2.4-40 over,balanced,e-88,big valves,ported&polished, stage2,header, triple Mikuni's 40's
    3.90 Subaru STI LSD

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    The carbon on the intake valves can only come from fuel or oil so if the valve seals are not damaged then it would be due to running rich.
    There is scarcely anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse, and sell a little more cheaply.
    The person who buys on price alone is this man's lawful prey.


    John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)



    ZCars in Eastern Canada seaport ready for shipment to Europe

    http://ZSportCanada.com


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    is the stuff on the back of the valves gooey/gummy or powdery/crunchy? just seems like oil from the pics vs soot... are all the valves equally cruddy or is it localized? if all the same it might suggest the oil was coming in through the intake manifold (pcv) vs localized leaning towards individual valve seals.
    '78 280z - Daily driver/work in progress...

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    Look at the head pic of the combustion chambers. The last three cylinders I had most of the issue, but #2 fouled on me also.You can see the difference looking at the valves from a distance. The pistons had a sheen to the top of them besides also having a carbon layer-the shinier ones were 4,5,6.
    There were moments I had this motor running rich, but with a wideband I knew most of it's life--until lately--it ran well. I didn 't have a perpetual problem with this motor running rich or the O2 sensor would have showed that. I had some carb issues , but I always knew I had a problem right away because of the o2 and looking at my plugs.
    Maybe a combination of issues piling up on each other. I knew I had an issue with rockers-which effected valves, which needed to be addressed. I didn't expect to see this much build up.
    I didn't really poke at the crud on the valves and i haven't seen them out of the head. The head is at the machine shop now.
    I will say the HG showed had this crud on the fire ring edge and it wasn't hard, more oil like mixed with carbon.
    Steve
    71 240z,bw-5sp 2.4-40 over,balanced,e-88,big valves,ported&polished, stage2,header, triple Mikuni's 40's
    3.90 Subaru STI LSD

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    Well the block and pistons are at the machinist. A cursory inspection by him and he said I had nothing to worry about. He agreed to measure everything out and thought a good hone and new rings and I would be good to go. I pulled the crank out of my original motor and going to replace the crank in this motor in order to eliminate the speedi sleeve on the rear seal. I guess you would say I am starting over again from the beginning. This time I will do all the assembly work. It's time for me to learn how to do this and I feel pretty confident I can do it.
    I haven't heard from Schneider on the progress of my cam.
    I miss driving my Z
    Steve
    71 240z,bw-5sp 2.4-40 over,balanced,e-88,big valves,ported&polished, stage2,header, triple Mikuni's 40's
    3.90 Subaru STI LSD

  29. #29
    Registered User madkaw's Avatar
    Member ID
    CZCC-7622
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    bloomington IN
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    56
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    2,288

    Default pics of carnage

    So here are some pics of the cylinder bores. Also pics of my Chevy Sonic pick-up truck
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    Steve
    71 240z,bw-5sp 2.4-40 over,balanced,e-88,big valves,ported&polished, stage2,header, triple Mikuni's 40's
    3.90 Subaru STI LSD

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