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    Default B15 engine problem

    Checking compression today, 100,50,100,50 psi, added oil to cylinders & recheck, same result so to my mind it should be a valve issue. Head was reco'd some years ago & has done limited klm's since ( say 5000 at a guess) & always put additive in fuel. Pulled the rocker cover off to check valve clearances & found this, is it simply condensation as it hasn't been run for approx 6 weeks or do I have a more serious water in the oil problem. There is no sign of water in the sump oil ( no milkyness). cheers DaveB15 engine problem-rimg1764.jpgB15 engine problem-rimg1765.jpgB15 engine problem-rimg1766.jpgB15 engine problem-rimg1767.jpg

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    I think its probably condensation as its not in the sump. I used to get it in the oil filler cap of an air-cooled VW so it definitely wasn't in the sump there! Do you get cold nights?!
    The compressions however are a bit worrying. Lots of possibilities there. Why do you think its a valve issue if the head was done recently? Were the rings / bores etc renewed at the same time?
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    The suggestion that it's valves is that the valves can "bed down" into the head over time & therefore the valve clearances open & as a result the valve fails to seat properly thus creating loss of compression. As for the rest of the engine, when I originally got it (1983) it wouldn't run as it had no compression at all, we added diesel to the cylinders & turned over by hand & continued to do this weekly for some months. When checked the compression was good & it started first turn on the starter. Since then we have only repaired the head & replaced gaskets. That was over 30 years ago & it's still going although not so strong at the moment. I am very reluctant to pull it down unless absolutely necessary as I know it will open a can of worms. As for cold nights, yes it has been chilly recently with heavy dews so that might have something to do with it although the car is garaged. cheers Dave

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    I think that you are clutching at straws. If the engine has been idle that long I would say it is necessary to strip it down and check everything! The original barrels have a habit of settling over time and the pressure on the head gasket is reduced. This results in coolant getting into the block and it then condenses on internal exposed metal. New original barrel base gaskets are available but there is a better cure with use of barrels from and ID/DS19. They have a thinner gasket at the barrel base and do not settle. The rods should be replaced with ID/DS rods with a more modern bearing shell. The old white metal rods bearing metal is probably fatigued and may well fall apart when you separate the bearing cap from the rod.
    CTA Holland can supply the parts you need to do the job properly!
    Cheers Gerry

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    Default Things !

    Quote Originally Posted by Halfbrick View Post
    The suggestion that it's valves is that the valves can "bed down" into the head over time & therefore the valve clearances open & as a result the valve fails to seat properly thus creating loss of compression. As for the rest of the engine, when I originally got it (1983) it wouldn't run as it had no compression at all, we added diesel to the cylinders & turned over by hand & continued to do this weekly for some months. When checked the compression was good & it started first turn on the starter. Since then we have only repaired the head & replaced gaskets. That was over 30 years ago & it's still going although not so strong at the moment. I am very reluctant to pull it down unless absolutely necessary as I know it will open a can of worms. As for cold nights, yes it has been chilly recently with heavy dews so that might have something to do with it although the car is garaged. cheers Dave
    Hi Dave
    You may be clutching at straws but so what !! If the straws work that's OK. A few things to try if you wish too ! Seems like you should take it out more

    The valve clearances "may" not open up as you said to cause a problem, but can close up and hold the valves fractionally open and thus cause low compression. If this is the case then a setting of the tappets will fix it and prevent the valves burning in the future. Needs doing any way.

    My suggestion is to look at the tappets and if they are closed then VOILA. If not then retension the head. Release each nut fully, lube and retension individually one by one in the correct pattern. See how the tensions are and see how that goes too Nothing much lost if it does not work either.

    If these do not work then you will have to look further Perhaps the rings are gummed up and may free up with a warmup and then a small amount of diesel or WD down the plug holes for a week. An oil change after this if it works.

    But the stuff you see under the tappet cover in your pics, may be the result of not running the engine hot enough when you have used it previously. They do not have a thermostat so the condensation is high if you just start these old motors and fiddle about without getting them really working and a bit hot, IMHO. If the weather is cold then cover the radiator to get it warmed up. What sort of oil do you use ?

    Remember the head gasket seals several things and various types of failure may happen without all the other indications.
    Good luck and keep us posted jaahn
    Last edited by jaahn; 12th May 2014 at 10:05 AM.
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    B15 ?? That's really early RWD with thermosyphon cooling isn't it Have you tried giving it a good long hot run before you make any assumptions. Oil down the cylinders and no compression change sure sounds like valves to me. My fathers traction motor sat for a lot of years, and it bent pushrods when it was rolled over. Does this one have slightly seized valves that aren't seating fully ....

    I'm lazy, I'd sure try a good long run where it gets nice and hot first

    seeya,
    Shane L.
    PS: Do we get to see some piccies of the whole car ?
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    I think we are talking Traction Big 15 here are we not?
    I guess you just have to go over it step by step, eliminating the simple first.
    Sticky rings is quite possible if it's rarely used.
    What sort of dispstick does it have? It's a very basic affair and not well sealed from memory, so could allow water in.

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    Hi Jaahn, I'm not one for rushing in when it comes to this sort of thing so checking of valve clearances is first thing A re-tension of the head will also be done seeing as the rocker cover is off anyway, & yes, guilty of not taking it out enough. I do drive it very conservatively so probably would benefit from a good rev out but will hold that over until the above checked are done. Oil used is Penrite 10/50 I think without going down to check, using thicker oil as it drips a bit ( well it is over 60 years old without a rebuild)
    Shane, To clarify, "53 big 15 Traction" & will give it a good whipping after adjustments are done.
    David , The do only have a basic dipstick arrangement that doesn't have a seal at the top so I guess it could suck in moisture but I'm thinking it's condensation due to lack of use.
    Just have to drive it more often, cheers Dave

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    That is much more than just condensation! Notice how the oil is mixed with the water on the head near the valve cover gasket giving it a creamy colour! It would not do that just from condensation. Have you drained the sump to see what is in the oil?
    I still recommend stripping the engine. This recommendation comes from 60 years of TA experience. I was 7 years old when Dad bought home his first one. I have always had a TA from the time I learned to drive and at the moment am working on a 51 11BL
    Cheers Gerry

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    Quote Originally Posted by gerrypro View Post
    That is much more than just condensation! Notice how the oil is mixed with the water on the head near the valve cover gasket giving it a creamy colour! It would not do that just from condensation. Have you drained the sump to see what is in the oil?
    I still recommend stripping the engine. This recommendation comes from 60 years of TA experience. I was 7 years old when Dad bought home his first one. I have always had a TA from the time I learned to drive and at the moment am working on a 51 11BL
    The mild steel coolant tube that you suggested maybe rotted away in the head of the one here ......... Does that mix oil and coolant if it corrodes away
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleChevron View Post
    The mild steel coolant tube that you suggested maybe rotted away in the head of the one here ......... Does that mix oil and coolant if it corrodes away
    No Shane, that tube is wholly contained within the head! Its function is to provide a stream of coolant directly on to the area of each exhaust valve seat!
    The only places that coolant can leak into oil are the barrel base gaskets ( highly unlikely unless the barrels have been disturbed when the head was off last ) or the head gasket because the barrels have settled and reduced the tension on the head at that point. Citro Motors used to sell figure 8 copper shims to place on top of the barrels before the head gasket was fitted to make up for this settling. The barrels must stand proud of the block by .05 to .10 mm!
    Last edited by gerrypro; 13th May 2014 at 08:37 AM.
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    Cheers Gerry

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    Hi Gerry, Thanks for your advice & I'm certainly not doubting your knowledge & experience when it comes to these cars. If I had the luxury of being able to afford a complete engine rebuild the situation would be different but that is not the case so if major works are needed then it will be deregistered & have to sit in the shed until things change for the better. I'm assuming that the works you suggesting would cost somewhere in the $5 K region as a minimum & to suggest that to SWMBO at the moment would also involve me looking for a new place to live. cheers Dave

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    Bars Leak if nothing else works or is possible. Just don't dump it in the filler neck as it comes from the container or it may cause a blockage. I once had to chisel Stop Leak out of the bottom of a block, so how it is applied is important.

    You could back the screws on the rockers right off so that the valves are certainly closed when you do another compression test. That could give you a little more information about the condition.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Halfbrick View Post
    Hi Gerry, Thanks for your advice & I'm certainly not doubting your knowledge & experience when it comes to these cars. If I had the luxury of being able to afford a complete engine rebuild the situation would be different but that is not the case so if major works are needed then it will be deregistered & have to sit in the shed until things change for the better. I'm assuming that the works you suggesting would cost somewhere in the $5 K region as a minimum & to suggest that to SWMBO at the moment would also involve me looking for a new place to live. cheers Dave
    Not necessarily! You said that you have already done the head! So that would mean finding some ID rods . If your journals are not worn you could replace the old white metal with standard ID bearing shells. The mains are remarkably long lived so probably won't need touching. You may be able to use your old pistons and barrels. You could even use the same rings but a re-ring would be better.
    Then it would come down to a new head gasket and the afore mentioned figure 8 shims to raise the barrel surface height. These are placed on top of the barrels before the head gasket is fitted. You would probably have to make them from shim stock.
    So our costs would be:-
    1. Head gasket.
    2. Shim stock.
    3. A set of ID rods
    4. A set of bearing shells. ( possibly a crank regrind if the journals do not measure up ) I just had 5 mains and 4 big end journals done for my CX to .25mm undersize for $240 ) You would only need to grind 4 big end journals and buy a set of first cut shells. .25mm or 10 thou.
    5. Sheet cork to cut sump gaskets and a timing case gasket.
    My crankshaft rejuvenation cost me just under $600 for the CX. Yours could be considerably cheaper!
    This is so because most of it will be do it yourself.
    On an engine that will only do low mileage this will be perfectly OK
    Cheers Gerry

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    David has a good point. I've seen a rebuilt ID19 motor that was always low on power.... But it was a nice quiet silent running motor. I eventually found out that the valve clearances were so poorly adjusted that some of the valves never fully closed.... It was noisy like every other ID19 from the top end after that was fixed! back all the pushrods back off and re-try your compression test. Then set them from scratch.

    Do you have a leakdown tester I imagine it would be incredibly simple to make one from an old sparkplug.
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    I would like to point out that when I rebuilt the TA that I am driving now the engine was pulled down with only 78,000 miles on the clock. At this comparatively young age ( in terms of miles and years ---1975 ) the connecting rods were found to have the white metal fatiguing on the thrust face of the rod. When it was removed from the crank, sections of white metal literally fell out. It was only being held in place by the fact that the rod had not yet been undone. This was a thrown rod just waiting to happen! All four rods were like this. The car had always been well serviced and had never had water in the oil from a leaking head gasket.
    The journals were perfect and I fitted ID rods and slipper bearings to effect a cure! I also replaced the cylinder barrels and pistons at the same time.
    I have seen many rods in this condition and also have seen the results of a thrown rod!
    Doing the job fully is cheap insurance!
    Cheers Gerry

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    What do the spark plugs tell you? Are they all the same or different colours?

    The rockers and their shaft can wear quite significantly, so if they were not replaced, you could have quite a lot of variation in the clearance between what you set and what happens when it is running.

    Ultimately, Gerry is pointing you in the right direction if you find you have to dismantle it and undertake a rebuild. So, if you come across an old ID19 engine going begging, grab it, as it will give you a set of ID conrods and maybe a set of useable pistons and liners.

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    A new rocker shaft is a good investment. Rockers can be bronze bushed to suit and this will cure any slop. The contact faces of the rockers can be ground easily enough so that clearances can be set accurately.
    Cheers Gerry

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    Hi Shane, I don't know what this is. Can you explain please, thanks Dave

    Do you have a leakdown tester I imagine it would be incredibly simple to make one from an old sparkplug.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Halfbrick View Post
    Hi Shane, I don't know what this is. Can you explain please, thanks Dave

    Do you have a leakdown tester I imagine it would be incredibly simple to make one from an old sparkplug.
    Yeah! you've got me there also! Please explain!
    Cheers Gerry

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    OK now I see ( said the blind man).
    That will assess the rings and the valve seating! I doubt it will determine between leakage in these areas as against leakage from a poorly sealing head gasket. All it will tell you is that there is a compression leak somewhere!
    A compression gauge will tell you the same thing.
    I guess where this device would be useful is in assessing an engine that is either out of the car or that can't be cranked because of other electrical problems!
    Last edited by gerrypro; 14th May 2014 at 10:27 AM.
    Cheers Gerry

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    Quote Originally Posted by gerrypro View Post
    OK now I see ( said the blind man).
    That will assess the rings and the valve seating! I doubt it will determine between leakage in these areas as against leakage from a poorly sealing head gasket. All it will tell you is that there is a compression leak somewhere!
    A compression gauge will tell you the same thing.
    I guess where this device would be useful is in assessing an engine that is either out of the car or that can't be cranked because of other electrical problems!
    Pretty simple isn't it I've been tempted to make one for years, but haven't as yet had the need.

    Don't worry about the gauges, just hooked the air up and go listen at the oil filler cap, carby and exhaust and listen for where the air is escaping. If it's into the engine or bubbling coolant, you must have a headgasket leak. I can't see how it would find a liner weep though.
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    The thing about coolant leaks from the head gasket is that you can't see if there is bubbling inside the water jacket or head and by the time the bubbles make it to the radiator they have pretty much dissipated and can't be seen. If the leak was bad enough to produce major bubbling that would be noticed, you probably have a sump full of water!
    Cheers Gerry

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    Quote Originally Posted by Halfbrick View Post
    Hi Shane, I don't know what this is. Can you explain please, thanks Dave

    Do you have a leakdown tester I imagine it would be incredibly simple to make one from an old sparkplug.
    You won't need is a gauge. Just make sure each cyl is at bottom dead center with valves closed, then connect the compressor hose straight onto your adapter. A lot of air coming from the sump area will indicate piston ring problems, air blowing out intake indicates inlet valve problem and the same applies to the exhaust system. Any bubbles in the radiator water indicate head gasket leakage. It's simple and foolproof. You can even use a foot pump if a compressor isn't available, Get the missus to operate it, you're looking for an air leak not pressure containment.
    I would adjust the tappet clearance, anything will do for a test, and check compressions again. If they're near enough, then give it a really good warm up. The early 6 cyl Holdens used to suffer from the milky rocker cover syndrome particularly in wet weather as did a lot of pommie built stuff, if it's not on the dipstick I reckon it's just condensation. You could try draining the oil to see if any water is present, if it's all right you can pour it back into the engine. Waste not etc. Many oils for the older engines attract water.
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