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Old 08-11-2004, 03:20 PM   #1 (permalink)
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First step?

Just picked up an '89 RRC, 99K miles, no rust for essentially the price of a tow. Hasn't run in 6 months or so. Apparently it overheats in a matter of minutes. Owner took it to the local service station upon the first overheat, they installed a waterpump and told him it may need a head gasket. He gave up and parked it. I checked the oil, it's black and not frothy, coolant is low, couldn't see any outward sign of coolant leaks, but I didn't look too hard. I'm thinking that the first step is to get her running and investigate and clean the radiator (thinking that is a likely cause of the original problem) and replace the tstat. From there, try to get the temperature stabalized and then drive, look for coolant loss and signs of diminished power before pulling the heads.

Any ideas on other early diagnostic steps?
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Old 08-11-2004, 05:34 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Rust free 89 for the price of a tow?

Replace that tstat (stick it in a pan first with some water and put the heat on till the tstat pops open)..Also check for air pockets in the system...get the radiator flow tested after that..

Also, is it boiling over? Replace the temp gauge sensor too, those go bad often, or just install a temp gauge.. much on this board about that.

I just started a replacement of my cooling system over the past week when I pulled the radiator, had it flow tested and whoalla.. clogged.
Here are some pics of the Rust Rover.

www.roverfanatic.com/cooling_part1.htm
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Old 08-12-2004, 06:53 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Yah, second prize is two dead rovers . . .

Assuming I can get the root cause of the overheating figured, what should I look for upon getting her running beyond simply coolant loss? I'm guessing valve noise, lack of power, maybe pull the valve covers and clean up the valves? At what point do I resign myself to a head job?
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Old 08-12-2004, 07:47 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I have a new rad for that if you are in need.

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Old 08-12-2004, 08:08 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Overheating in minutes is often indicative of failure of the fire ring to the water jacket. IME, it is usually the rear-most cylinders.

This is consistent with the lack of power, but not necessarily the valve noise. If this is the case, you won't have coolant loss, but pressurizing of the cooling system with combustion gases. Likewise, you won't find coolant in the oil.
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Old 08-12-2004, 09:22 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Evil, I have a rad lined up, will let you know if that one doesn't come through, thanks.
Paul, when you've found that scenario, have you found with any consistancy that the heads need to be planed? What might be a good list of parts to have on hand to tackle this? RN has a gasket kit that seems fairly inclusive for $120ish, they're getting about $70 for a set of head bolts. Are there alternatives from the SBC world that would work?

Would then just need to find a machine shop for the head work -- anyone know of one in Northern VA?
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Old 08-12-2004, 11:51 AM   #7 (permalink)
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If you're going to the trouble to remove the heads and all that is involved in doing so, it just doesn't seem to make sense not to have the heads resurfaced and the valves cut.

I'm not a fan of the composite intake gaskets. With the composite gaskets, it can be difficult to line up the bolts and easy to pull threads. This doesn't happen with the steel gaskets.
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Old 08-16-2004, 07:28 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Sunday morning went over to get the truck. Got her running with some wd40 in the intake and reconnecting the dist. cap. Decided that as long as she was running (with a horrible exhaust leak) I'd get her as far as I could under her own power. Made it about 10 blocks through georgetown before the temp guage got just south of red, at which point I pulled over. Found a milk jug in the back and a spigot on the side of a house and put 3 gallons into the radiator, all of which immediately started flowing out of 2 places in the radiator and an as yet undetermined place in the block. Realized that it was time for the tow.

90 minutes later the flatbed shows up, in which time we've gotten all of the intake assembly off, fuel rail disconnected and the radiator ready to come out. Got it home and started in, now have one head off and the other down to a few head bolts. The head is warped, has a little under 1/8" gap in the center when a straight edge is put across it. Valley pan gasket was massively deformed, cam looks a bit worn. Cylinders have very, very minor pitting but no scoring. Head gasket was missing a large portion between the back cylinder and the water jacket (just as Paul suggested). So, with that, my question is what do I need to look for in the cylinders and on the pistons to deem if the motor is salvagable with a head job? With this degree of warpage on the heads and the deflection (upwards) to the center of the valley pan gasket, is there any way of knowing off hand if this may be terminal to the motor? What should I be looking for? Many thanks, I'll keep you posted, and any thoughts are much appreciated.

Tony
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Old 08-16-2004, 07:50 AM   #9 (permalink)
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That head is junk. Allowable deflection is on the order of a few thousandths, not nearly 125.

Pull the block and have the deck measured before you do anything else, although, it is unlikely the block has warped to the point where it is toast.

Most likely, the heads are toasted and the rest acceptable, look at the top edge of the bores for ridging, lathough these engines don't seem to ridge real bad.
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Old 08-16-2004, 09:27 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I would not waste my time putting that one back together. Used engine would be my choice.

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Old 08-16-2004, 11:30 AM   #11 (permalink)
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So Paul, you think the block is most likely salvagable? Pendy, you think not? Sounds like it's time to pressure test the block -- can it be done while still in the truck? Anyway other than a pressure test to know if it's salvagable? As it drover yesterday, allbeit with some horrible exhaust leaks, wouldn't a cracked block not run?

Apologies for the newbie engine questions, this is my first time deep inside one.
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Old 08-16-2004, 09:45 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ABrooks
So Paul, you think the block is most likely salvagable? Pendy, you think not? Sounds like it's time to pressure test the block -- can it be done while still in the truck? Anyway other than a pressure test to know if it's salvagable? As it drover yesterday, allbeit with some horrible exhaust leaks, wouldn't a cracked block not run?

Apologies for the newbie engine questions, this is my first time deep inside one.
Another reason to source a used one. This sounds like a ticking time bomb to me. Pressure testing the block in the truck is a novel idea. I made some plates to do this with a cylinder leakeage tester some time back.

Seriously check used engine prices before spending time on this one. Water damages cam bearings, lose of oil pressure, the dominos just keep falling when you drive them using water like you did. it will never be right, beyond a full rebuild most likely. Just something to consider before you spend money, time etc..


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Old 08-17-2004, 07:07 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Pressure testing at ambient temps won't show you much, unless the block is really shot. Oftentimes, the blocks don't leak until op temps are achieved.

I'd be more worried that the block deck hasn't moved around.

If you can find a cheap engine (something I'm no longer having any luck with), you might be able to replace the engine for less than you'll have in machine shop bills.

I haven't "Rebuilt" an engine in almost 20 yeas because of machine shop costs. The last engine I rebuilt had a machine shop bill of $2000. You can go a long way toward a used engine for that. On the other hand, you can get a set of main bearings for $150, Rod bearings similarly. Rings are $$ though.

Personally, I'd throw a new set of heads on it and drive it 'til it died (again).
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Old 08-17-2004, 07:07 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Pendy, you win. Took a straightedge to the block last night and I've got 3/1000 gap. Apparently you're allowed 2/1000 with the metal gaskets, though there apparently may be a chance that she'll live for a while if I use the composite gaskets as they're slightly more forgiving. So the question is, do I gamble with putting $300 worth of heads, $120 worth of gaskets and some $ worth of rods, rockers and lifters onto this motor that may or may not live afterwards all in an effort to resell an '89 with no rust, or do I spend the time trying to part it out? Third option, is it worth trying to go through the time and expense of sourcing and installing a good used motor, again in a truck that may have $2500 worth of inate value?
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