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compression 180 on all cylinders... but engine smoking; one-forty, old, feeble, but still in the fight
Topic Started: Dec 14 2011, 12:50 AM (2,550 Views)
one-forty
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Hey, guys!
I have not been on the forum for a long time. I guess I'm not even one-forty anymore as I no longer drive much at all. I am however trying to get my little Metro back online again, after a long down time. My number three exhaust valve burned, so about a month ago I bought I rebuilt cylinder head from a very reputable(spl?) ebay shop that does cylinder heads. Got it back together, and I had oil literally dripping from a hole in the exhaust manifold, and it was smoking. I assumed that when I punched the gasket to make the oil drainback holes big enough, I distorted it, and oil was being sucked into the cumbustion chamber. Recently I found the correct head gasket- Beck-Arnley, from Rock auto, so I ordered it. As an aside, I emailed 3tech to see if there was a shipping charge in addition to the $30 he was asking for the reusable head bolts, and he never got back to me. Today, I put everything together again, and though no oil is dripping, it is smoking like crazy. I did a compression test and every cylinder is almost exactly 180psi. The only thing I can think of is that maybe the shop that rebuilt the head forgot to install the valve seals. I am stumped. They sent me a head which was completely built with the cam installed and everything- I would be stunned if they didn't install the valve seals under the cam, lifters, etc. Besides pulling the cam, lifters, and springs to see... I suppose if that is the case, I will have to try that scary trick where you feed rope into the spark plug holes to hold the valve from falling in. I will be Gottdamned if I am going to pull the head off again, and have to by a new gasket and disposable head bolts!!!
As always thank you for this great forum
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Bad Bent
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Facetious Educated Donkey

How bad is the smoke?
Check your PCV valve and clean the "Y" tube?

You'll probably get the recommendation that you should have re-ringed the engine but with the 180 psi reading it seems as if everything is OK. That said, you can read the spark plugs to see if they are oily. If it is a sticky ring you might try some Marvel Mystery Oil, say 1/3 a quart w/o overfill to see if it helps with lifters and rings. :-/
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one-forty
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The spark plugs do look oily and black, the pcv tube is not plugged or restricted. The smoke is pretty bad- not a smokecreen, but if I step on the gas it starts to pour out once I let my foot off the gas. At idle it is continous but not as bad. Would a sticking ring slip by a compression test?
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Bad Bent
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Facetious Educated Donkey

I doubt a stick ring would get buy unless it was clogged solid and able to maintain compression.
So you have no oil in the air cleaner.
No oil pressure light on the dash.
The pistons did not have a lot of carbon on top of them.

The head may be the problem. Unlikely, but one member did have an issue because the lifters weren't cleaned. But unless someone with more experience on rings/compression/valve issues chimes in, I'll suggest that the spark may be weak.

Did the spark plugs smell of gasoline? The gap should be 0.039-0.043 (ie 0.041), wires have no cracks, distributor posts clean and dist. is not cracked and the rotor is clean. Also the engine ground wires have to be clean. Coil-dist wire could be bad and the coil needs to have clean connections.

You can pull a plug or use a spare plug to test spark. If you pull a plug then stick a rag over the hole. Insert the plug in a wire socket and ground the threads to the engine and have someone turn the engine over for a second. You should get a strong blue arc. Here's a sample video done on a small engine; How to check for spark.

It is running so the intake manifold grounds are connected but make sure they are clean. I use a Demel tool and small wire brush to clean grounds and plugs.
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clarkdw
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Puffing smoke at idle and when you let your foot off the gas is a classic sign of valve guide seals gone bad. Maybe they did forget to put them in.
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one-forty
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Boy I am discouraged. I guess tomorrow I will cram some rope into the spark plug holes, pull the cam, lifters, and spring retainers and see if there are indeed valve guide seals installed. I have been very lucky with this car, bought it cheap, got a used engine for it, and drove 140 miles a day for two and a half years. It has a ton of driveline lash, now, high idle probably because the iac spring is brokedidid, and I probably ruined the catalyst by testing it the last couple days. I suppose I am blessed not to live next to a cliff. I appreciate all the support you have given me. I will keep you guys posted.
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vr4


You might be able to see if the seals are in thru the spring. I don't have a 3cyl so I don't know for sure. To check the guides the head will need to be completely disassembled though.
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Mikemetro
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Normally the only seal they don't install is the cam. But they might have missed them. Although I did have one metro I bought that smoked real bad. Got it for under 400. I had 185 compression across the board. Replaced the seals but still had same issue. Turned out to be a stuck oil ring. So its possible that a ring is stuck especially if the car has been sitting.
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Shinrin
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Did you leave the oil check valve out of the block? If it's not there, compression can be great but tons of oil will pour into the air cleaner to be blown out as smoke.
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one-forty
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Man! Thank you for all the replies! I had to walk away from the car for a few a few days, but tomorrow I will pull the cam and lifters, and if I can see anything. It just seems so hard for me to believe they forgot the valve seals. My question to you guys is if Marvel Mystery Oil doesn't work, what then? Am I re-ringing the pistons? I have recovered from my brief crybaby phase, and if I have to hone the cylinders and rebuild the bottom end, I suppose this is as good a time as any. I am sure it is my ignorance, but how do you get good compression readings when oil is getting by the rings? Thank you for your help. I will find this problem! It is not safe anywhere in my engine compartment!
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Geo Glenn
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What's in your engine?

One-fourty,

I'm going to bet 100 to 1 that valve guide seals are not the problem. That being said means I get to say, "I told you so".

MMO is a good thing. Try a 12 ounce bottle in a fresh oil change. Also, Chevron Techron will do a world of good for cleaning the fuel system. Liquid cures will not replace metal.

If all else fails, there is a 2 digit GMF member that's more or less directly East of your location that may be convinced to help.

That's my 2 cents worth.

GG
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Woodie
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There are oil rings and there are compression rings, different parts. Never put a head back on without replacing the rings.
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one-forty
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Here's an update...
I got some Marvel Mystery Oil. I ran the engine for a little while and I noticed that the smoke was almost immediately disappearing. I had my girlfriend run the rpms up a little bit while I kept my hand near the tail pipe, and I realized it is coolant causing the smoke. So there it is. Now, I will have to find the source. My offhand guess is the intake manifold interface. I didn't remove the throttle body, and it never had any issues. I will keep you guys posted.
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Geo Glenn
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What's in your engine?

Are you sure it's coolant? Does it smell like coolant? This time of year, with cooler weather, there is going to be some moisture condensing in the tail pipe. Go drive on the highway for 30 minutes, and recheck. You might slack out on this one . . . ^o)

Keep us posted. :popcorn
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69 Z-28
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American Muscle
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I'm basically having the same issue. Replaced the head due to a burnt valve from a reputable ebay seller. Compression is around 190, 190, 170, and it has been smoking like crazy since I installed the head. The block check valve is in place. I removed the head and checked everything and put a new head gasket on and it did the same thing. Appears to have oil on all three plugs when I pulled them. It is oil for sure and not coolant. Can tell by the color and smell.

It smokes like crazy at idle and almost all the time going down the road. New pcv valve and the Y tube is clear. No oil is in the air cleaner. This one has got me stumped. Considered doing a full rebuild but questioned it due to the decent compression readings.
Been thinking about changing the oil and adding Marvel Mystery Oil and see what happens. I don't think that will help though.
Edited by 69 Z-28, Dec 22 2011, 01:27 PM.
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