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Unread 12-15-2012   #1 (permalink)
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Angry steam from valve cover - low compression - now what

Last week after a hard pull on the street I had steam bellowing out of the valve cover breather. I limped it home and looked at the dipstick. Water.....

shortly after putting on my turbo I blew a head gasket and replaced it with ARP studs and felpro 1011-1 gaskets. I though I had blown another head gasket - I've had some boost creep recently and can't honestly say I looked at the boost gauge during the hard pull that seemed to end it all. I'm guessing but can't confirm that the boost spiked.

I ran a compression test and had low compression in cylinder 5, 7 and 9. Yes, 6 was find but otherwise driver side was all low.

today I pulled that head and replaced the gasket. The gasket was damaged - but the metal rings were not blown. I put it back together and checked compression. It is still low in those same cylinders.

This time (should have the first time but didn't) i put a little oil in one of the bad cylinders and the compression went up from 60psi to 80psi.

Do I have bad rings in these three cylinders? Could one boost spike cause that?

visually the valley looks fine -but what would a split block look like?

What is my next step? Get the block out of the car and to a machine shop? Buy a new short block? I might attempt to rebuild the shortblock myself - but I know I'll be in way over my head and will need lots of guidance.......

If the block is bad should I replace with another seasoned 302 and hope for better luck? replace with a 351w but use my same gt40 heads and as many other parts as will carry over? Or buy a boss302 block and reuse as many parts as possible.

I need to get this back on the road with as little money as possible, but will also spend what I need to get it right.

Goal is/was 400 RWHP.


Lots of cuss words and beer tonight...........
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Unread 12-15-2012   #2 (permalink)
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Maybe the head is cracked? ..I would just buy a boos 302 or dart 302 the stock blocks arent that great..i use fel pro 9333 pt1's and ARP studs...i would think a cracked block you would have oil and water mixed alot...and you cant use your on3 kit with a 351...it wont fit...
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Unread 12-15-2012   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MY 85 GT View Post
Maybe the head is cracked? ..I would just buy a boos 302 or dart 302 the stock blocks arent that great..i use fel pro 9333 pt1's and ARP studs...i would think a cracked block you would have oil and water mixed alot...and you cant use your on3 kit with a 351...it wont fit...
The cross pipe would be longer for the turbo on 302 to 351. What else is different.
Is the overall width to big for the turbo headers?

I might do a boss block if the block is my problem.

I guess I need to get it to a machine shop to see what is really broken.
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Unread 12-16-2012   #4 (permalink)
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How about rings? Wouldn't these also be a cause candidate? At any rate, it looks like it's time to pull the engine.
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Unread 12-16-2012   #5 (permalink)
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Depending how involved you personally want to get with a rebuild, there is a place not too far from you in Carrollton. It's called AER Manufacturing and they claim to be authorized by Ford for remanufactured engines. If I recall, they can build a short block to specs you require if their "generic" remanned block isn't what you like.

The block I use is from them. More than ten years ago even having them ship a short block to me in Virginia was pretty cheap. I replaced some internals like the cam and beefed up the hardware..but I haven't had problem one.
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Unread 12-16-2012   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YLDPONY View Post
How about rings? Wouldn't these also be a cause candidate? At any rate, it looks like it's time to pull the engine.
I've thought about that - could a boost spike cause 3 rings to suddenly fail? What about the steam?
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Unread 12-16-2012   #7 (permalink)
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The steam out of the breather is why I mentioned rings, but that wouldn't explain the coolant in the oil. Maybe it was a combination of rings and a head gasket? I was just making a suggestion, but I really know very little about forced induction failures. Hopefully one of the resident turbo users will have some insight.
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Unread 12-16-2012   #8 (permalink)
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I would think you might have cracked a few rings...that can be the cause of the low compression...as far as steam.a blown head gasket again cracked block maybe..how much of a boost spike was it?
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Unread 12-16-2012   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MY 85 GT View Post
I would think you might have cracked a few rings...that can be the cause of the low compression...as far as steam.a blown head gasket again cracked block maybe..how much of a boost spike was it?

I have my boost control down to 8 psi - but earlier in the week it jumped to 14 and was still climbing when I saw it and backed down. When I think it blew I did not have my eyes on the boost gauge and don'te even know for sure that it did spike......
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Unread 12-16-2012   #10 (permalink)
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I run 14 psi ...on a stock short block...i do have ARP studs and Trickflow heads i hear bad things with GT40's with alot of boost...maybe you cracked the head?
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Unread 12-16-2012   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MY 85 GT View Post
I run 14 psi ...on a stock short block...i do have ARP studs and Trickflow heads i hear bad things with GT40's with alot of boost...maybe you cracked the head?

What does a craked head look like? I couldn't see any damage- would it e visible?
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Unread 12-16-2012   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasMustang View Post
What does a craked head look like? I couldn't see any damage- would it e visible?

Not really visible they have to use a big magnet and they pour like a metal dust over the head then charge it and blow the excess off if it has a crack the metal dust will stay in the crack so you can see it...
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Unread 12-17-2012   #13 (permalink)
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I get steam from my valve cover... But it's just blow by... But my motor is TARD
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Unread 12-20-2012   #14 (permalink)
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Ok - I talked to the machine shop that recently did the valve job on my heads. From what I described they said it was probably a cracked head and offered to check it at no cost.

I took the heads off (again) and had them checked. Heads are perfect...... Wich means the damage is in the bottom end.

So - I got the motor out of the car and pulled the oil pan off - I"m now deeper in an engine then I've ever been. Seeing stuff I've only ever seen in pictures before.

I took out piston number 8 and found small cracks between the rings. I used a rag to clean it up a little bit and a big chunck fell of the piston (from were it was cracked). See the photo.

Now What!!!!

Options:

1) Local machine shop can sell me a stock remanufactured short block for $500. This is not a bad option.

2) Let the car sit while I save and then get a boss short block. Fix it right and never worry about it again.

3) Rebuild what I have doing it myself. I would have lots to learn. But I can read, watch youtube videos, and of course ask on here...... This is the option I like best right now but I'll think on it for a day or two before deciding.


Assuming the other two cylinders with low compression also have cracked pistons (5, 7 and 9 had low compression) and I find no other damage what needs to be done by a machine shop to what I have now. If the cylinder walls don't look mared do I need to have it honed?

I'll have to replace the pistons - that means the crank needs to be balanced?

Pistons in it now are stock - what should I replace them with. I've read online that the stock pistons are stronger then the stock block. Obviously not true in my case.......

Sorry for lots of questions - I'm really trying to figure this out now.
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Unread 12-20-2012   #15 (permalink)
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It really comes down to budget and what you want to spend. Also what do you expect from your mean machine as in power wise? Is it a DD? Weekend warrior? Street/strip?
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