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Lifter noise: what to do?
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dpazos
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I removed the cyl sleeve on piston three and I see a crack on the piston skirt! I go to remove the wrist pin and one of the circlips is missing. It seems whoever assembled the engine forgot to insert the circlip Shocked or did not install it in the groove correctly causing it to either wear down against the cyl walll or was never there in the first place. The wrist pin was rubbing on the cylinder wall. I imagine the heat and movement of the pin caused the piston to crack. The piston skirt around the wristpin finished breaking into four pieces as I was taking out the wristpin out. I doubt I would have made it another 100 miles.
I split the case and it is definatley been split recently. I have it completely disassembled. I did some preliminary measurements with a pretty accurate caliper and everything looks to be in specs but I'm going to send them to a machinist to clean up and check with better equipment.
Luckly nothing looks scored except for the cyl wall. I definately avoid having to scrap the entire engine by tearing it down before it selfdistucted.

I was thinking of building it up to a 2.4 with go westy parts, but they want $4k for the parts. I think that is kind of high so Im looking at my second option.
This morning I called Boston Bob and told him the whole story, He seemed very knowledgeable and helpful. I am sending him my heads,crank and rods. He is going to cleam them up, rebush the rods, inspect and polish the crank and disassemble, clean, do a three angle valve job and new valves for the head. He told me about a week turn around time which is fine as this is not my daily driver.
Ill post pics tonight of the pistons for all to see. More to come later!
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Split that case!!!! I bet your cam bearings have spalled. Replace or rebuild the lifters(could be full of shit from the cam bearings). Do a full rebuild or risk wasting your time/money.A wiped out piston says replace it all.
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DrDarby
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 8:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good luck and have fun. Make sure the AMC heads don't still have junk valves in them.
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dpazos
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 6:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I pulled the engine and started tearing it down. I'm sure glad that I did. I found several things I that were not right.
First I noticed the cooling system had the wrong coolant, however the expansion tank had the right one.
Second one of the bolts on the crosspipe to the waterpump was hand tight Shocked and some iffy coolant hoses.
Im lucky it did not spring a leak on my trip.
I took off the head on the cylinder in question and the pistons are full of carbon buid up. I don't think you get that much carbon in less than 10K so I'm starting to doubt it was ever rebuilt. Also the cylinder wall (#3) has a deep groove on the wall flywheel side.
On a good note, the head had been replaced with AMCs and show zero corrosion.
I am going to crack the case today and see what else I find.
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r39o
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2006 11:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BTW: As an aside. It is all the little external things that will frequently cause you to walk. I have been collecting all new hoses for my car. I am doing things to minimize little things from messing me up. So I have lots of new parts installed. All systems are working fine. Questionable stuff replaced or closely inspected. Spare parts on board just in case. You just never know when the AFM is going to take a dive, for example. Or an injector get drippy. (Which reminds me to get a set cleaned and calibrated.) Keep the old belts, I had a brand new Conti PS belt pop of spontaniously. Just stuff like that. There are threads about this, too.

Have fun,
Walt...
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r39o
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2006 11:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DrDarby,

If you have good oil pressure and good leak down in the other bores, your engine is fine. If it has leaks, fix them. The basic 1.9 engine is pretty tough. Do both heads with good (German?) valves or send them to Boston Bob for upgrading. Might even let the machine shop GoWesty uses go over them. Those are basically good heads. You may consider ratio rockers for more go.

Of course stare long and hard at the cylinder in question. To be sure you have a burnt valve, take the rocker off and presurize the cylinder and listen for intake and exahause air leaks. Easy to do.

That is what I would do for my own engine. My engine is very questionable too. It is a replacement used engine that does not leak, has good leak down and good warm oil pressure. It sounds right and has noisy lifters from time to time. It pulls just lke a 1.9 should so, for now, I leave it alone and have a AAA card handy.

Best of luck,
Walt...
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DrDarby
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2006 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since you are pretty open minded about this I'd tend to agree about the fact that tearing it down yourself will at least give you the peace of mind knowing it is done correctly and nothing questionable was left undone the 1st time. My 85 Westy has about 60k mi on AMC heads with their crap valves and has what I feel is burnt #3 Ex valve. I've been offered twice to have the job done for me in exchange for other cars I'm getting rid of etc but feel since I want to drive it from Chicago to the West coast & across the Southwest & back next season I'd rather do it all myself. I'm concerned about my transmission as well as I have 185,000 on mine and it has never been touched. I have perfect oil pressure and the van has been adult driven always. It shifte and runs very well except for low comperssion in #3 so I'm torn between tearing it all down or just doing a valve job and putting a couple thousand miles on it before I shove off.
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SlowLane
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2006 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah. Missed the part where it was revealed that this was a wasser. Sorry for the misdirection.
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dpazos
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2006 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks guy for your help Smile . I took it to two local shops and they all think I need to pull the engine. With thier input I have narrowed it down to having to pull it out and at least pop off the head to see what is going on. Niether suspected a lifter.
I have been worried since I bought it since it was a rebuilt and since I was not involved, it would be a pandoras box. Whensomeone else rebuilts your engine they are quite as meticulous as you would be. I knew it when I bought it last year and was a risk I was willing to take. At least it didn't happen on the 5k trip I took through CA, OR and across to FL.
Whatever I find I'm leaning towards doing a complete teardown, replace anything that is even close to borderline specs, balancing the crank/rods and pistons, swapping out the valves in the AMC heads, replace all bearings and building it back up just to have peace of mind. I might get the tranny redone as well since it has 108K and dont want the 3-4 gear grenade.
I know some of you may think Im nuts Shocked, but Im planning on doing a 2K trip this summer and want to have the peace of mind that the internals are solid. I carry tools and parts for everything outside of that and can handle any other repairs on the fly.
I have rebuilt several type3 motors throughout the years and always learn something new. Since this is my first WBX, does anyone have any good tips (stuff not covered in the bentley) for the wasserboxer engine they would like to share?
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r39o
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2006 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yep, the hairdryers like to damage valve train parts for sure. The water coolers not so much. Since his is a water cooler, I am less likley to think that. If he has AMC heads, then maybe he has a funny Chinese valve stretching out. Who knows?

But, after thinking about it, maybe a close inspection of the cylinder in question is in order. A "boroscope" (sp?) sure would help to look in that dark hole. Otherwsie removing the head, looking, inspecting and replacing the lifters may be in order. But, I am only guessing.

This is a tough one. Two Vanagon experts just looked at me funny and were clueless as it is opppsite from the normal failure sequence.

All I can say is basic checks and try and find and expert before you yank it.

Sorry....
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SlowLane
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2006 1:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When valve seats loosen in the head, they can cause a tapping sound as they get repeatedly slammed into the head pocket. In my experience (only two engines) the tapping sound is not very loud, but it might be different in your case.

I've had dropped valve seats on two engines. The first one was a total surprise, but I had been mystified by a barely audible tapping sound around #3 cylinder before it happened. The second one I was able to catch before it did any damage because I heard the slight tapping and checked the valve clearance. I also did a visual check by pulling the spark plug on the suspicious cylinder and peering into the chamber through the spark plug hole. I could see that something wasn't quite right with the intake valve seat, compared to another cylinder that wasn't tapping.

Given the prevalence of dropped valve seats for these engines, I'd suggest eliminating this as a possibility before chasing less likely gremlins.
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Phil G
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2006 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I sure hope you didn't put that Mobile 1 synthetic oil in it before the motor was properly broken in. The stuff is great, but will not allow things like rings to properly seat, and you can develop odd mechanical problems as a result. Usually after 1000+ miles of initial break-in driving though, you can use that oil without problems. If it is used during initial start-up . . . ugh!
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dpazos
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I checked the rocker arms and pushrods when i adjusted the the clearances. When the wire to the spark plug is removed, while the engine is at idle, the sound changes. I would say it doulbes or taps twice. That combined with the tapping going away at load and coming back during deceleration makes me think it is piston/wristpin/rod related. Sad
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Randy in Maine
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 12:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does the noise go away when the spark plug to the cylinder is removed?
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 11:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had a lifter go a while back. Same load tapping sound you describe. When I replaced it and dropped the push rod back in I noticed at the last second that the rod was not on the center of the lifter. I almost missed this and reassembled the whole thing. Could this be the case?
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r39o
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stay tuned. I am thinking and asking about this....
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dpazos
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 7:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am sure it's not piston slap. It is a loud tapping sound I have heard piston slap and it sounds entirely different than this. Smile
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Randy in Maine
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 7:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Could it be harmless piston slap?
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dpazos
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 7:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks guys for your input. I have been using 15w50 Mobil 1. I dont believe it is a weight issue as I'm in Miami and it rarely gets under 55F. Vanagons and vanagon mechanics are few and far between in Miami or the surrounding areas.
One other thing I noticed was that the tapping is loud on idle and decelleration but goes away when under load.
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DrDarby
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 7:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One thing that no one has mentioned, you can replace the lifters in both the T-4 AND Wasserboxer without pulling the engine out or apart. Instead of tearing the enjine down if you think you have a bad lifter, why not just replace the ones on the offending cylinder ?
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