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Thread: Riddle me this!

  1. #1
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    Default Riddle me this!

    My buddies got a 2.3L 88 TC with 137km's on the odometer.
    Yesterday he was driving home in 5th gear at about 130kph at around 2800rpm's and all of a sudden the engine died and would not restart(he did get it briefly started once but it died after about 5 secs of running very poorly)and while trying to start it with a full batt it would stop dead then turn over slowly as if one or more of the cyl's hydro locked.
    So he gets it towed home and says "we'll look at it tommorow".
    Go over to his house today figuring he blew a head gasket,first thing we did was pull the dipstick and rad cap,all ok there,no mixing(good sign).
    Then we pulled off the intercooler,all the spark plugs and turned it over by hand then by crank(all ok,no coolant in the cyl's and all have good compression(again a good sign).
    So as were like WTF,i said let's pull the valve cover and check to see if maybe one of the lifters broke.
    We pulled the valve cover and sure enough what do i find not a broken lifter but 2 exaust lifters on #2 and #4 cyl's spit out of there positions and lying in the bottom of the head.
    Well that explains the hydro lock sensation we were getting as it was just building compression and never realeasing it as the exaust valves weren't opening,but how the hell did that happen and why?
    There was no damage to any of the lifters including the 2 that were spit out,or the valve springs that i could see.
    The cam and lifters are worn,but not flat spotted that i could tell.
    We reinstalled the offending lifters(kind of a pain in the ass due to the valve spring pressure but we got them back in)turned the eng over by hand then with crank and all was well again.
    We didn't start the eng due to the fact we did not have a valve cover gasket and i did not want a turbo fire but i know that,that cam has been sealed in there for the last 17yrs due the fact that the gasket was cork and very brittle when removed.
    Now i need some advice on what to due in this situation.
    I'm thinking that those two lash adjusters must be worn or not getting oil to allow for the lifters to just fall out like that while driving but they were really tight to get back in(had to comprees the springs big time).
    How well does the ranger roller cam stand up to the stock cam for performance?
    Is there a noticeable differance in power,loss or gain?
    How will this cam stand up to say a T3 turbo running in the 20-24psi boost range if he ever decides to change the turbo?
    Any answers or insites you guys might have would be awsome.
    P.S. i have been all over turbotbird.com searching for a similar problem but have not found one.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Riddle me this!

    basically, it does sound like you may have hydrolocked it, fluid in the cylinders might have fouled the plugs, so nothing burned, and kept the valves from opening

    with the roller cam, if you install it straight up, its a more torque cam, since its for a truck, many guys put an adjustable cam pulley on it, and retard the cam timing 2-4*, to get the top end back, each setup is slightly different

    also, to my knowlegde, ford used rubber gaskets, not cork
    It's Gumby's fault.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Riddle me this!

    Well that's the thing,there was no fluid in the cyl's so it wasn't hydro locked it just seemed like it due to the fact that the exaust valves on 2 cyl's were not opening.
    Also as far as i know,back in the 80s most if not all gaskets were cork,it wasn't until the early 90s they started using rubber.
    My wife's old 86 capri 2.3l used a cork gasket as well as my 88 t-bird's 5.0l until i upgraded to the updated rubber ones.

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    Default Re: Riddle me this!

    i thought i read that there was coolant, woops

    also remember, maybe the old capri used a cork gasket, but those also used different valve covers, which can make all the difference
    It's Gumby's fault.

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    Default Re: Riddle me this!

    Kind of odd that it spit up the followers like that.

    I guess since you have things apart, now would be a good time to install the RR cam if you have it. The only real benefit over a stock cam is that it is a roller v. a slider and the frictional losses are less.

    As Shawn mentioned, every set-up is different, but alot of guys retard the RR a few degrees to shift the power band a bit and it can show some improvement on the top end.

    If you have it apart and a cam in hand, or readily available, then yeah swap it. If not I wouldn't tear everything down just to swap it.

    The V/c gasket was probably replaced at one point in time. If not get a new Ford rubber one when you put it back together. It will cost a little more than the Fel-Pro one, but it's almost infinitely reusable and will more than pay for itself in the end. That's all I will use on my 2.3Ts.
    Long live the 4-eyes! - '83 Tbird Turbo

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    Default Re: Riddle me this!

    my 88TC also had a cork gasket until I changed it for the rubber fel-pro

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    Default Re: Riddle me this!

    Yea still can't figure out why those lifters did that,possibly a loss of oil prime in the lash adjusters,or maybe they collapsed inside?
    Can the cam be retarded with the stock pulley?
    I know that there are 3 timing marks on the little plastic timing mark inside the timing cover hole.
    Right now it is set for straight up,are the other 2 marks retard and advance and if so by approx how many degrees?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Riddle me this!

    Quote Originally Posted by dominator
    Can the cam be retarded with the stock pulley?
    No
    Long live the 4-eyes! - '83 Tbird Turbo

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Riddle me this!

    does'nt number 2 and 4 pistion cycle up and down in phase with eachother?

    im curious about this "why it happened" thing.
    id say you better recheck your timing in detail and completely cause if there has been an increase in "valve float" due to the lash adjuster being wacked,then probably there was interferance. If the 2.3 is not an interferance engine, it might have become one due to wear and tear.

    honestly, your problem sounds like the symptoms of a timing belt that has jumped.

    its possible that the pistons 2 and 4 have made contact with valves and yet still left no real damage in lucky situations including good compression numbers. The lifters may have absorbed the impact this time.

    If im right, this explains why number 2 and 4 got black eyes,, it still does not explain why the valves matched,, ie-both exhaust. I would think it should have been the I and E valve of either cylinder. Are you sure its both exhaust valves?

    i dont know what tooth the timing should be on, i see three teeth to choose from but which one is correct is not my place to say.
    Last edited by jcassity; 07-12-2005 at 07:50 AM.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Riddle me this!

    The 2.3 is a non-interference engine...

    If you're going to go so far as to swap cams and such, go ahead and get some new HLA's (you might have had a couple stay pumped up which might have helped shoot the followers out) and replace the timing belt and tensioner.

    Using the stock cam pulley, you want the timing mark to be as dead nuts on the center of the 3 marks as possible.
    Long live the 4-eyes! - '83 Tbird Turbo

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