steam from valve cover - low compression - now what - Ford Mustang Forum
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-15-2012 Thread Starter
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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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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-15-2012
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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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Wifes toys, 91 Z28 350 tpi supercharged,89 Iroc-z 350 tpi.
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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-15-2012 Thread Starter
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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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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-16-2012
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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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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-16-2012
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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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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-16-2012 Thread Starter
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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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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-16-2012
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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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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-16-2012
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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?

DD 98 GMC suburban 04 Trailblazer,other toy 06 300 SRT8
Wifes toys, 91 Z28 350 tpi supercharged,89 Iroc-z 350 tpi.
1993 GT Convertible-SOLD
1998 GT SOLD 1990 GT sold

87 GT Vert.On3 turbo making 14 psi...PRO-M maf,Trickflow TW 170cc heads,TF street heat intake,70mm TB,stock cam,1.6 roller rockers,Snow performance stage 2 meth kit,42# injectors,340 lph fuel pump,tunning with Moates QH,AOD,lentech VB.electric OD,3000 stall.3.55's
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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-16-2012 Thread Starter
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Quote:
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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?

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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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?

DD 98 GMC suburban 04 Trailblazer,other toy 06 300 SRT8
Wifes toys, 91 Z28 350 tpi supercharged,89 Iroc-z 350 tpi.
1993 GT Convertible-SOLD
1998 GT SOLD 1990 GT sold

87 GT Vert.On3 turbo making 14 psi...PRO-M maf,Trickflow TW 170cc heads,TF street heat intake,70mm TB,stock cam,1.6 roller rockers,Snow performance stage 2 meth kit,42# injectors,340 lph fuel pump,tunning with Moates QH,AOD,lentech VB.electric OD,3000 stall.3.55's
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post #11 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-16-2012 Thread Starter
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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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Quote:
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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...

DD 98 GMC suburban 04 Trailblazer,other toy 06 300 SRT8
Wifes toys, 91 Z28 350 tpi supercharged,89 Iroc-z 350 tpi.
1993 GT Convertible-SOLD
1998 GT SOLD 1990 GT sold

87 GT Vert.On3 turbo making 14 psi...PRO-M maf,Trickflow TW 170cc heads,TF street heat intake,70mm TB,stock cam,1.6 roller rockers,Snow performance stage 2 meth kit,42# injectors,340 lph fuel pump,tunning with Moates QH,AOD,lentech VB.electric OD,3000 stall.3.55's
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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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post #14 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-20-2012 Thread Starter
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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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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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