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Running rough after head gasket rebuild

Discussion in 'Stock 1991 - 1994 Explorers' started by geosnooker2000, July 19, 2011.

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  1. geosnooker2000

    geosnooker2000 Active Member

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    Well, it cranked!

    Now for the bad news.....
    Sounds and feels like a miss on at least 1 cylinder, especially under load and after it warms up. Hear's what I did:

    1) Changed head gaskets, and all that entails.
    2) Power washed (without pulling the trigger) engine compartment after dousing it good with de-greaser before I started (but it ran fine on the way home to start the repair).
    3) Changed one spark plug anyway because it was showing signs of rust (even though, again, it was running fine before the repair).
    4) De-greased and washed the top and underside of the lower intake with the fuel rail and the injectors attached and in place (scrubbed with wire brush to get all the gunk I could out. (Looked 95 percent clean when I finished, but I was running out of patience, time, and de-greaser). I tried not to touch the injector orifices with the wire brush, but they DID look gunky. I tried to spray them clean with the de-greaser and the garden hose.
    5) Found a brown O-ring in the driveway after completing the job, but as discussed in a previous thread, this must be from a previous mechanic leaving an extra one lying in the intake, because I DID NOT take the fuel rail apart. I thought it might have come from the fuel return line, but no one can say there is supposed to be an o-ring in that connection. At any rate, there is GOOD pressure on the system, judging from when I discharged the schader valve on the fuel rail to check if there is an o-ring at the fuel line/regulator connection (there's not).
    6) Replaced the plug wires. Cylinder #3 wire on the new set doesn't have as long a terminal plunger as the other 5 wires, so it doesn't go as deep into the coil pack as the others, but the O-rileys guy looked at it and assures me that isn't an issue. I'm not so sure.

    So, guys? What should I be looking at first?
    Ask me questions if you need more info to form an opinion.

    Oh, this is all on a '93 4.0L Sport with 350,000 miles.

    Thanks in advance
    George
     
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  3. geosnooker2000

    geosnooker2000 Active Member

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    Question:
    Are the valves in the 4.0L adjustable? I didn't see any way they could be, but if they are, I didn't do anything to them (the heads were rebuilt ones from a company in West Virginia).
     
  4. Roadrunner777

    Roadrunner777 Well-Known Member

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    Pull spark plugs wires one at a time to find the bad cylinder. Valves are hydraulic, according to my documents.
     
  5. Turdle

    Turdle Freelance Stuntman Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    swap one of the wires from your old set into the suspect wire position. The shorter electrode is an issue.

    Also, triple check the firing order on the driver side--we all get it mixed up at one time or another.
     
  6. geosnooker2000

    geosnooker2000 Active Member

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    So both you guys agree, check electrical first, then fuel.
    Turdle - I unfortunately threw the old set away, or that is EXACTLY what I would do. I think I will pull a short wire off my '96 (not running right now due to a bad tranny) and use it. I'll report back later. Thanks for the thoughts, guys.
    George
     
  7. Maniak

    Maniak Moderator-Stock 91-94 Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    Quadruple check the firing order. One side of the coil makes perfect sense while the order on the other side is switched up some.
    If you goof the switched up side it will start but run poorly. I've seen many people on here switch up some wires including me. Heck, I goofed on it during a head job and during the motor rebuild but once it ran funny I knew what it was.

    ~Mark
     
  8. geosnooker2000

    geosnooker2000 Active Member

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    I checked it 3 times. The wires are correct. The passenger side makes sense and the drivers is back to front, front to middle, and middle to back. Mechanic friend of mine I just showed it to said it could be a vacuum leak at the lower intake manifold gasket, because "it doesn't sound like a hard miss". Possible? I would hate to tear that far down back into this thing.
     
  9. geosnooker2000

    geosnooker2000 Active Member

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    Just visited my other mechanic friend about 50 miles away, he hooked it up to a computer and found no trouble reports. Said I should go home and pull each plug in the morning and find the one that looks fouled and clean that injector (after I told him my method of cleaning the underside of the lower intake). Left him and not 10 miles down the road it all of a sudden started running perfect. Then I noticed that it was running hot. Had to stop 25 miles into trip home and add water to the rad. after watching it boil out the overflow tank cap. The same trouble I had that prompted me to change the heads and head gaskets in the first place. But in the 95 degree heat on the way TO my mechanic friend, while it was running like ass, it ran cool as a cucumber. Why? Cracked heads again?
     
  10. Turdle

    Turdle Freelance Stuntman Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    it is very hard to get all the air burped out once the cooling system has been cracked open. I would assume a air lock in the hoses, and try again.

    Get the front up high so the rad cap is higher than the heater core inlet tubes. This will help get it all burped.
    it takes several warm up, cool down cycles , checking coolant evry cycle, to get it filled and burped.
    Also, the engine may run like crap when no coolant is present at the ect sensor.
     
  11. geosnooker2000

    geosnooker2000 Active Member

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    Turdle,
    I have been running without a thermostat and put in a 2nd bottle of prestone flush and clear water in hopes that I can get all the rusty gunk and Liquid Copper out of my system from when I tried to fix the cracked heads problem before. Could this be contributing to my current boiling over problem? I really don't know what it is supposed to do driving it for over an hour without a thermostat.
     
  12. Turdle

    Turdle Freelance Stuntman Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    Ah, I assumed a new thermostat was installed. Sorry.

    It " might " be possible on a hot day, with no thermostat the coolant will not stop in the radiator long enough to cool sufficiently.
     
  13. geosnooker2000

    geosnooker2000 Active Member

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    GOOD GOSH!!! If that's all it is I will sing 5 hymns on the freaking front lawn!!!!

    So would you say my next move should be:
    Flush
    Install thermostat
    fill with plain water
    See if that works
    If it does, drain and fill with 50/50 mix???
     
  14. Turdle

    Turdle Freelance Stuntman Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    I would try that yes.

    Also, once the coolant is burped and engine is hot, rev it up to see if a radiator hose collapses.
     
  15. geosnooker2000

    geosnooker2000 Active Member

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    What do you mean by "collapses"? Would I need a helper to see it collapse, or is this not a literal type thing?

    Also, if it did, what would that indicate?
     
  16. Turdle

    Turdle Freelance Stuntman Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    with the engine idling in park, you can pull the throttle lever under the hood. As you do this check the hoses. If there is a blockage in the cooling system the water pump will try to over come this and a radiator hose may collapse.
     

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