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Old 07-04-2018, 10:55 AM   #1
harrywt
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Default Cluster F**k

Now I know exactly what Gunny Highway meant.

As you may recall I rebuilt my 304 just before leaving for Korea about 5 years ago. In korea I could not get a license plate so I mostly drove it off road in the hills (they prob called them mountains) and farm roads around my house. I have been back and in LA for 10 months and now use my Scout as a daily driver. The engine has maybe 20K on it now since rebuild.

The motor has run excellently. In first and second gear you can imagine yourself in a sports car, I have been really pleased.

Past couple of weeks I could feel a miss while cruising the freeway and I was planning to have a tune up done.

Two weeks ago I am driving on surface streets and when starting up at a green light it loses power above say 2K revs. Got home and went over the electric, checked a spark plug, (crudded some, not real bad but overdue for replacement). Brought it up to temp, sounded good but no test drive.

Next day starts up idles ok, pull out of driveway and then downhill from there. Backfire, popping up through the carb. I turned around and just made it back to the house and no go no how.

Towed it to my mechanic as I figured this needs someone who sees things like this all of time instead of me the weekend warrior doing it all step by time consuming step. I am presently pretty busy at work. And you know I am not a dummy.

They call me and tell me that the distributor is not triggering the coil and bottom line the photocell points replacement from MSD is dead.

FYI, I like my mechanic. My wife says that I never say nice things about mechanics and contractors so she always checks her ears when she hears me compliment one of these guys....

So they replace the module in the distributor, new coil (I just replaced the MSD blaster a couple of months ago, need to solve that) and new plugs. I have a set of LiveWires from our favorite vendor and forum host.

So even though the electric needs an evaluation it is now functioning nominally. They call me to come get it. I jump in and she runs but not as before. They kind of thought that it was OK because they didn't drive it before this issue.

We played with the timing and got it better but not right. They also showed me constant light smoke from the right tailpipe. There is no equalizer pipe between the two pipes from manifold to tail.

So went to meet a carburetor/distributor guy who has been around forever. My mechanic "warned" me about him but being at heart a small town hillbilly I could recognize a kindred soul.

So Paul rebuilt the carb (Holley 2300) and I bolted her on and she did run better but it is still sick.

I drove it a little and stopped to visit a shop where the guy mostly works on daily driver classics, including Scouts, to have him listen to the engine and offer suggestions. He would do a remove and rebuild of te heads to the tune of $3-5K. I did like the guy and I recognized that for him this was the best as he was so busy making good money with his present customers only this kind of repair was worth his time.

So I am driving home and made a stop. Jump back in, turn the key and the starter dies! One of the low gear ones from IHPA that I had jeff ship to korea.

I have never experienced so many things going wrong at once!

Through all of this I ntoiced that I was 2-3 qts over on oil. I had changed the oil a month before. When I checked before draining, the level barely touched the dipstick. I have been going through oil lately. I hadn't noticed the smoke at the tail pipe yet. When I refilled after draining I noticed thatt he level was high but I figured that since I was going through it that it would come down on its own. Plus I forgot about the dangers of too much oil. Aslo I typically run an extra qt as many of us do.

I have been very pre occupied with re locating and the new job.

After perusing the web about too much oil (after running with too little) I became very depressed and figured that I'd lunched my engine.

So here's where we stand;

No one has heard any lower end noise as in main or connecting rod bearings.

This past weekend I replaced the month old oil, very dirty looking but still slippery in the fingers, no stickiness. No metal chips that I could see.

Replaced the starter.

Removed all plugs and took photos. All but 2 and 4 look nominal, maybe a little hot. 2 & 4 are oily but you can see small carbon deposits at the tips. The pops back through the carb.

Did a compression test on warm engine. Meaning that I ran it 5 minutes, let cool 20 minutes then tested. 150psi each cylinder +/- maybe 2psi? And after 4-5 strokes. Did not do a wet test since dry test so excellent. One could argue that 2 & 4 were wet tests and maybe the rings could still be bad.

Put it all back together and timed it to about 4 BTDC.

Idled it up to operating temp. If you put your hands by the tail pipes the left exhaust is MUCH hotter than the right. Light smoke, meaning easy to see through, constant from right pipe, cylinders 2,4,6,8.

Drove it about 6-8 miles, pops occasionally, no backfires. Not full power, engine vibrating like it is unbalanced inside. Near the end of the trip it began to lose power. When I parked it and checked the oil the dipstick was SUPER hot, 1,3,5,7 side of motor. I am guessing it lost power as it was overheating. When I drove home later starting a cold engine it had as much power as when I left home.

My present idea is that the valve seals of 2 & 4 are leaking preventing 2 & 4 from firing except when they pop back up through the carb. This would explain the smoke, the lack of power, the pops and the other cylinders being so hot with hot looking plugs.

Before I pull the heads I plan to replace the seals on cylinders 2 & 4 and see what happens.

I searched the forums to see if anybody has had an issue like this. Not the wrath of zeus part but the smoke and fouled plugs in only 2 cylinders. Found bits and pieces.

I wanted to see what you all thought. Plus it is an interesting problem although not as much for me!

cheers,
harry
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Old 07-04-2018, 12:01 PM   #2
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Default Re: Cluster F**k

Hi Harry, The only way to raise the oil level, without it being grey, is fuel. The 2 possible sources are a leaking fuel pump diaphragm or flooding carb. What could be happening is the oil is so thin that the bearings overheat.
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Old 07-04-2018, 08:56 PM   #3
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Default Re: Cluster F**k

sorry, the oil level is not rising, put too much in when I changed oil a month ago. I didn't think much of it at the time. 2 or 3 quarts too much is supposed to be BAD. The model is that the crank now dips into the oil in the pan and churms it up. Oil get so foamy that it doesn't pump well, bearings dry out. when my engine went downhill so fast I wondered if this happened to me. No one who has listened to the engine can hear any lower end issues

The carb was dumping too much fuel intot he manifold. the power pump was shot and leaking. Carb is rebuilt now.

Somehow cylinders 2 & 4 are not firing consistently except to pop once in a while back up through the carb suggesting pre detonation
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Old 07-04-2018, 09:36 PM   #4
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Default Re: Cluster F**k

Do you have a real oil pressure gauge (not the crapball stocker) hooked up and been monitoring it regularly during this time?
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Old 07-05-2018, 07:19 AM   #5
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Default Re: Cluster F**k

yes. transducer type near dip stick below odd cylinder exhaust manifold. Never lost pressure that I noticed
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Old 07-05-2018, 07:28 AM   #6
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Default Re: Cluster F**k

the really confusing thing is how all of these things could go wrong at once. having a major lubrication issue would tie it all together but I can't find a smoking gun pointing to lubrication failure.

I noticed in the forums that one should check the drain back holes in head. If they were clogged though the oil would tend to collect at cyls 6&8 as they are downhill.

I will be changing oil seals this weekend
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Old 07-05-2018, 08:34 AM   #7
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Default Re: Cluster F**k

In regards to your miss firing 2 and 4.
Have you verified the plug wire order? Possible that they got swapped. Also make sure the dizzy cap is not carbon tracking.

Regarding oil usage, two cylinders not burning, making power will pass a lot of oil from raw fuel washing down the walls, and the rings not seating properly from lack of combustion pressures.
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Old 08-17-2018, 07:45 AM   #8
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Default Re: Cluster F**k

So I am pleased to report a happy ending.

I decided to take a cautious approach and have my mechanic replace the valve seals on the even side of the engine to see if there was any improvement.

I printed out the engine specs and I noticed that the 2 & 4 cylinders were on opposite sides of the distributor and gosh maybe they COULD be switched and they wouldn't cause large backfires.

Well sure enough, I switched them and everything got better. No more smoke, even heat from both tail pipes etc etc.

I've done some more tweaking and will post soon.

I feel really stupid, but not as stupid as I would feel if I had yanked the heads off....
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Old 03-24-2019, 02:56 PM   #9
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Default Re: Cluster F**k

hi guys,

I just realized that I hadn't posted an update.

I had my Holley 2300 and my Delco distributor rebuilt in Monrovia by an old hillbilly I found out about through my everyday mechanic. (who botched up the repair of this whole problem)

Paul’s Carburetor. The young guys at the shop "warned" me about Paul being "a little different". I am now Dr Harry PhD but I don't forget the small town that I grew up in and where Paul would fit right in. We hit it off famously.

Paul installed a Pertronix Flamethrower III into my distributor and set me up with the matching coil. Once I timed it in my Scout ran as good as it ever has, probably the best. I generally time my engines as M Mayben suggests but this time I used that seat of the pants approach plus a timing light and set it about 6 BTDC. Has been running like a champ.

Been some months now and engine starting to miss and also not run well on rainy days even in the morning after being in a car port.

Checked the timing and then pulled a plug and it was showing overheating. I decided that it was a cheap fix to replace all the plugs and put in a basic set because I'd like to figure out what is going on and then get a better set.

BTW, while timing in the new set I was getting shocks from the wires, so running badly in dampness may be solved.

Once I got all of the old plugs out I became very concerned as you can see in the pictures. The worst plugs are nearest the carb.

Web searches say that I may have the timing too advanced and am getting pre detonation but engine has been running superbly.

With the new plugs it is running quite nicely but I don't think as well as when Paul first set me up.

I would welcome any insights or suggestions. I am thinking to contact NGK and discuss colder plugs.

The pictures start with the odd plugs and then the even plugs

cheers,
harry

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Old 03-24-2019, 03:18 PM   #10
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Default Re: Cluster F**k

I guess I'm not seeing the plug overheating. I see that most of them have a tannish-brown appearance, which is good. I see that one or two appear to be fuel or oil fouled.
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Old 03-24-2019, 03:19 PM   #11
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Default Re: Cluster F**k

Nothing about those plugs say detonation to me. Many are white but this is also a smog calibrated engine and this look is to be expected. What I do see is oil burning, and in the 3rd to last photo of the plugs it is obvious. Totally carbon loaded and no longer firing. Oil in the threads on most and carbon build up even on a couple of the whiter ones..

Other than those observations, things look OK. How many miles on these plugs?



What kind of driving do you do? Just guessing you are loosing oil past the intake valve guides as the engine is basically new. If you have not already, I suggest umbrella seals on at least the intakes. At least a couple of times a week, take a freeway trip for 10 minutes at speed (65+). That should mitigate a lot of the worst carbon buildup.
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Old 03-24-2019, 05:55 PM   #12
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Default Re: Cluster F**k

I drive about 150 miles a week. Once a week we go to the beach so that is 30 miles each way but not too high speed coming home... The other 90 per week are surface streets as I prefer them to freeways, small town boy.

The plugs have about 3500 miles on them. Engine rebuilt 2012 but didn't put many miles on it in Korea, mostly off roading on weekends. Engine maybe 10-15000 miles?

I never have had plugs so white before but I agree they aren't all THAT bad. I am wondering about the flamethrower III coil making the plugs hotter

I don't notice any smoke as a rule. I did see some the other day when it was raining and engine was really balky in the morning while not yet warm.

I verified the operation of the choke and choked it slightly more and replaced the air filter.

There is no smog equipment but I do have aftermarket catalytic converters in anticipation of Hamilton Fuel Injection
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Old 06-15-2019, 09:52 AM   #13
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Default Re: Cluster F**k

The engine is missing more often. I changed the plugs after only 500miles or so and the same ones are pretty fouled. I am going to go ahead with the umbrella seals. If I am going to do this I think that I might as well do all the valves.

Please post opinions and maybe even point me to other posts, especially with pictures, regarding installing umbrella seals.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Kenney View Post
Nothing about those plugs say detonation to me. Many are white but this is also a smog calibrated engine and this look is to be expected. What I do see is oil burning, and in the 3rd to last photo of the plugs it is obvious. Totally carbon loaded and no longer firing. Oil in the threads on most and carbon build up even on a couple of the whiter ones..

Other than those observations, things look OK. How many miles on these plugs?



What kind of driving do you do? Just guessing you are loosing oil past the intake valve guides as the engine is basically new. If you have not already, I suggest umbrella seals on at least the intakes. At least a couple of times a week, take a freeway trip for 10 minutes at speed (65+). That should mitigate a lot of the worst carbon buildup.
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Old 06-15-2019, 05:11 PM   #14
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Default Re: Cluster F**k

Did you try replacing the distributor cap and plug wires? If you were getting shocked from the wires, they are probably toast. The Pertronix is going to give you a hotter spark, which will make bad plug wire issues worse. Have you looked at the plug wires when its dark and the engine is cold to see if there are any pyrotechnics going on?
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Old 06-16-2019, 03:28 PM   #15
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Default Re: Cluster F**k

Quote:
Originally Posted by harrywt View Post
The engine is missing more often. I changed the plugs after only 500miles or so and the same ones are pretty fouled. I am going to go ahead with the umbrella seals. If I am going to do this I think that I might as well do all the valves.

Please post opinions and maybe even point me to other posts, especially with pictures, regarding installing umbrella seals.
Super easy to install, do them one cylinder at a time, bring them to TDC stroke, pressurize the cylinder. Remove the rocker assembly, remove the spring retainer and spring. Slide the new seal on to the stem cup down, slide them to the guide.

Reinstall the spring and retainer along with the locking keys, release the spring tension and move on to the next one. I like to give the valve stem a rap with a rubber mallet just hard enough to unseat the valve and snap shut.
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