Bad cylinder

Discussion in 'Ford Hybrids' started by CarlD, Nov 11, 2013.

  1. CarlD

    CarlD Well-Known Member

    Engine got gradually rougher running and finally would not idle and shook violently and shut down with STOP SAFELY NOW. DTCs P0300, P0303, P0304 which are random misfire, cylinder 3 misfire and cylinder 4 misfire. Checking injectors, plugs and coils revealed no issues. However, a compression check showed ~ 150 psi for cylinders 1,2 and 4 but almost nothing for cylinder 3. I assume it is a bad head gasket but am surprised there is no evidence of it in the exhaust or coolant resevoir. Not sure I want to tackle a head gasket at this point. Even the PCV valve replacement due at 100k looks like more than I want to do. Any chance it is something simpler that I haven't thought of? Any one out there changed the head gasket on a 1st gen FEH?
  2. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    Sometimes when a head gasket fails , you may wind up with coolant in your oil , which then resembles chocolate milk. Did you inspect the oil ?
  3. rfruth

    rfruth Well-Known Member

  4. priusCpilot

    priusCpilot George

    I have heard the best sealer is Blue Devil.

    How the HG fail? If no over heating then do the FEH have HG problems?
  5. msirach

    msirach Well-Known Member

    If there is no sign of compression blowing in the coolant with the radiator cap off, milky engine oil, or external hissing/blowing noise, I would check for a broken valve spring. A broken intake valve spring could cause the multiple cylinder problems.
  6. CarlD

    CarlD Well-Known Member

    Yeah, that or a burned valve is about the only other thing other than a hole in the piston that I can think of. I am going to put compressed air into the spark plug hole and listen for where it is escaping. I guess pulling the valve cover off is easy enough to check for a broken/collapsed spring and the gasket probably could stand to be replaced anyway.
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2013
  7. msirach

    msirach Well-Known Member

    A hole in the piston would cause massive blowby in the crankcase. Your air filter would have oil in it and probably in the engine compartment. I forgot that it could just be leaking between 3 & 4 cylinders.
  8. CarlD

    CarlD Well-Known Member

    No evidence of broken/weak/sagging valve spring . Tried thermagasket sealer and compression came up a a little on cylinder three but not enough to stop the misfiring. Oil doesn't look that bad but there is some contamination. Definitely water out of the tailpipe now.

    At the dealer for diagnosis/repair estimate. Probably hear something on Monday. Expecting ~ $1200 based on searching up this.
  9. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    Sounds cheap by current standards-?
    Rare nowadays to have that sort of failure-lotta miles?
  10. CarlD

    CarlD Well-Known Member

    Probably unrealistic, but hoping based on the Ford 8 HR estimate @$125/hr.

    This is the third vehicle of mine in the last 10 years to have a head gasket go after sitting for a while. First was a 1996 T100 3.4L with 150k that I hadn't driven or cranked for about 6 months. Went to start it and it had a dead battery but wouldn't start with a new battery. No compression in all cylinders so I thought timing belt but belt was perfect and not jumped. Both head gaskets had virtually disintegrated.

    Second was 1999 Oldsmobile Intrigue 3.8L with 90k that had been sitting for about 6 months, although I had started it a couple of times. Had a misfire in cylinder 1 for about 2 months and then one day refused to start. Had no compression in cylinders 1,2,3.

    And now my FEH with 100k which had only been sitting for about 3 months.

    Phoenix has been 10% ethanol for 20 years. Just sayin'.........
  11. 08EscapeHybrid

    08EscapeHybrid Moderator

    I have vehicles that regularly go that long between starts.... Our 1 ton van sometimes goes 6-8 months between starts, and at times my 81 Buick has gone 2 years. Heck, when I put my 86 Chevy C10 back on the road after not being driven for 4-5 years, and all we did was a new battery and an oil change, and it fired right up. I've never had to deal with a head gasket.
  12. RedylC94

    RedylC94 Well-Known Member

    I have difficulty imagining how inactivity could cause head gasket failure. "Correlation does not imply causation."

    Another possibility (just speculating until we find out the true cause) might be erosion of coolant passages in the head, which can simulate head gasket failure, and which happened to my Mazda at only 476,402 miles. A local old-timer machinist involved in the unsuccessful attempt to repair it said "Them little Toyotas do that all the time."
  13. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    Wow-I don't get it.
    GMs intake manifold gasket problems-many folks try to attribute to dexcool-
    I have no idea if dexcool has anything to do with it.

    Yeah odd to have so many head gasket problems-kinda rare with modern vehicles

    Now our 1961 Rambler-with the aluminum head or was it block-?? it blew head gaskets every 3 months-yeah change oil replace head gasket-mill head etc-my dad cursed that otherwise decent car.

    Yeah engines are reliable-usually something else dooms them-rust , transmission, AC -sends them to the crusher
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2013
  14. 08EscapeHybrid

    08EscapeHybrid Moderator

    I think the intake manifold gasket problems are just due to a poor design. It seems limited to 90's models with the plastic intake manifold. Fel-Pro makes a revised gasket design that's supposed to eliminate that problem. I had one of the revised gaskets put in my K1500 last year.
  15. priusCpilot

    priusCpilot George


    Were OEM spec fluids used along with distilled water in the cooling systems?
  16. CarlD

    CarlD Well-Known Member

    I used RO water and OEM coolant. The Olds with dexcool had the coolant turn to mud. I could dig it out of the radiator with my finger. The Toyota not too bad. The FEH Motorcraft Gold coolant looked fine before I added the sealer.

    Two vehicles is hard to consider a coincidence. Have owned about 20 vehicles and those two were the only ones that had head gasket issues, although my 1984 300ZX did have the heater core let go and dump hot coolant into the passenger floor.

    EDIT: putting air in the spark plug hole causes air to escape out of the intake so the intake valve is bad in cylinder 3. So most likely not a head gasket. Burned valve or bad seat or who knows what else. Will probably take an entire afternoon to be able to get the head off to find the answer. Explains why the sealer did almost nothing.
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2013
  17. CarlD

    CarlD Well-Known Member

    Well after getting quotes ranging from $2400 to $3800 to fix the intake valve, I suppose I will tackle this myself. Interesting to see what the cylinders/head looks like after 100k miles, although probably the engine was running for less than 75k I would guess. I will document my time and labor to see just how much padding the dealer and independent shops were using when they quoted this work. Will post pictures here as things progress.
  18. msirach

    msirach Well-Known Member

    Wow! For that much, it should have included an engine.
  19. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    For $2200 I can get a NEW GENUINE GM GOODWRENCH 5.7 dropped curbside L31 I think-for a 98 Chevy (suburban)
    Most of that $2400-$3600 is labor-but 20 hours of shop labor?
  20. CarlD

    CarlD Well-Known Member

    Yes, these quotes were quite disappointing. The dealer was of course $125/hr labor and the cheapest shop was $75/hr. I have gone over the cylinder head removal procedure in the shop manual and I honestly can't see how it is more than 4 or so hours to get the head off. I am worried a bit about removing the cat/exhaust manifold and have hit all the studs with PB in advance. I have also bought a couple of special tools from amazon, a peg that goes into the block to hold the crank in position and a simple steel bar that stops the cams from turning.

    Don't know what I'll find when I pull the head off, but parts should be <$200.

    head gasket
    intake manifold gasket
    valve cover gasket
    throttle body gasket
    crank position sensor (manual says if removed it MUST be replaced with a new one)
    diamond washers for that incredibly stupid non-keyed crank pulley
    crank pulley bolt
    crank seal
    head bolts (non-reusable stretch type)
    two gallons coolant
    adhesive sealant for front cover

    in addition I will replace the drive belt, pcv valve and maybe the timing chain tensioner.

    intake valves are cheap, ~ $8 from ford. Probably can't hand-lap hardened seats but we'll see.

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