Worst fears were justified - 405Mi16
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  1. #1
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    Default Worst fears were justified - 405Mi16

    Schizen.

    Some years ago, I blew a plug out of the head on my Mi. I had a look down the plug hole and the thread seemed fine, so I screwed the plug back in and it tightened. Another Mi16 blows a plug out!

    I don't do many miles in it, so I'd never bothered changing the plugs, but I had checked their tightness a few times - no worries.

    Well, yesterday the plug blew out again. I checked down the hole, and there seemed to be some of the thread missing, but obviously access is tough. So thinking of the last time, , and that the flat spot in the thread might just be built up carbon, I screwed the plug back in. It seemed to tighten, and I was being cautious...but it had that 'stretching' feeling and I was unsure. Still, it seemed to nip up reasonably tight. I didn't test drive it afterwards that evening.

    Today I went to the shops about 5km away. On the way back - BLAM! Plug out. I'd taken the plug spanner in the glovebox. Picked the plug off the road, put it back in - won't tighten...

    Home on three cylinders.

    Bugger. I'm gonna be busy.

    So, first question - is it easy enough to remove/replace the head with the engine in situ on the tilt, or does it need to be lifted?

    Second, can the plug thread be repaired easily? I've heard of helicoils, but don't know much about them.

    Cheers

    Stuey

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    Last edited by Stuey; 8th October 2011 at 07:22 PM.


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  2. #2
    1000+ Posts cam85's Avatar
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    Its tricky with the head in situ. If you undo the lower engine mount you can have a little more forward tilt to gain you more access.

    Not to sure about fixing the pug hole though...

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    have repaire a blown plughole in a krout that I once owned using helicoils with success. your problem will be swarf falling into the cylinder. youhave to drill the hole then tap it the screw in the helicoil.

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    Helicoil is really the only fix besides completely replacing the head.

    It can be done with the head on but you ideally don't want any of the head material going into the combustion chamber while tapping.

    If it was on the cheap I'd tap it with the exhaust valve open, try to blow all the crap out with compressed air and try to sleep well at night.

    Gil

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    1000+ Posts PeterT's Avatar
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    Swarf will enter the chamber during installation. It's not an issue however. Firstly, it's only aluminium. Secondly, take all the plugs out after you've finished and wind it over a few times. Swarf will soon get blown out.

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  6. #6
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    Thanks gents.

    Actually, I wasn't entertaining doing it without removing the head. I thought the working clearance down the plug hole would prevent this.

    Peter, I assume by your response that it is possible? If so, is this with the engine out or can it be done with the engine in situ (but maneuvered for access I assume)?

    Out of interest, though, if I were to remove the head, is this possible in situ?

    So many questions, grasshopper.

    Cheers

    Stuey


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  7. #7
    1000+ Posts PeterT's Avatar
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    Certainly risky business doing it with the head on in the car, but possible:

    - long series tapping size drill, small chuck
    - long tap wrench (or custom tool)

    Otherwise, take the head off, recondition and make the best of a bad situation.

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    If you put a dob of grease on the tap it will hold most if not all of the swarf if you are careful. Not necessary if you are doing the head off the engine.
    FLAH

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeterT View Post
    Certainly risky business doing it with the head on in the car, but possible:

    - long series tapping size drill, small chuck
    - long tap wrench (or custom tool)

    Otherwise, take the head off, recondition and make the best of a bad situation.
    Yes, that was my intention. I'll also take your advice given elsewhere to dispose of the bypass hose behind the head and tap and plug the housing. One less source of leaks in the future.

    Strangely, I'm almost looking forward to the job! I've wanted to tidy up a few things (primarily the oil pipes under the inlet) for a while. Now's the excuse.

    It's also due a new timing belt, so there's another...

    Thanks Peter.

    FLAH, thanks for that tip. I've used that method on other jobs.

    Stuey


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    Take time at th start to make sure that you are tapping straight. A crocked thread could bugger you whole day.

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    I have a vacuum accessory kit that I use for detailing the inside of the car that has an attachment that reduces down to a small (10mm approx) flexible hose.

    It would easily fit down the spark plug hole and because it is a focused suction, it is very powerful.

    You could gaffa tape a small funnel to the end of the vacuum and connect a piece of plastic hose for the same result.

    Might take a bit of maneuvering around to ensure you cover the hole combustion chamber but I'd be suprised if you couldn't get all the metal out.

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    Thanks guys, but I won't be going down the path of doing it in situ. In fact, I won't be doing it at all - I think the actual helicoiling job requires someone who's done it before on such an expensive head. I'll remove the head and give it to an expert. I'm just considering now whether to pull the whole engine and give it a good going over (not an overhaul, just a set of seals etc.).

    We all know the trouble of doing this though. Oooh, I'll just do this extra little job while the engine's out...


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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuey View Post
    Thanks guys, but I won't be going down the path of doing it in situ. In fact, I won't be doing it at all - I think the actual helicoiling job requires someone who's done it before on such an expensive head. I'll remove the head and give it to an expert. I'm just considering now whether to pull the whole engine and give it a good going over (not an overhaul, just a set of seals etc.).

    We all know the trouble of doing this though. Oooh, I'll just do this extra little job while the engine's out...
    We have a guy in Southern Tas who does mobile thread reapirs, such as helicoils, and I would be surprised if there isn't someone in Perth who does the same thing, maybe several.

    Obviosly if you want the do a valve job and everything else, this is a great time to fix the problem, otherwise a mobile thread repairer might be the go!
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  14. #14
    1000+ Posts Wildebeest's Avatar
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    Stuey,
    "HeliCoil Guy" does exist in Perth. Occasionaly had to get him out to repair, in situ, plug holes on PRV6 engines that our resident grunt had overtightened or worse, hadn't run the plug in by hand* before using a spanner!
    * This applies to all engines kiddies.

    Not sure where "HeliCoil Guy" is located Stuey. One of the better machine shops would know.

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    Hmmm...interesting...thanks guys. I'll have to think about which path to take.

    (Mr Beest, I can just picture a guy flying down from above wearing a cape with an 'H' emblazoned on his chest, asking in a baritone 'You ranggg?' five seconds after hanging up the phone).


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    Stuey, the thread fix in situ is done routinely. Coat the tap with Li grease and it'll retain 99% of the crap as it goes down the hole. The rest is not a problem as said above, and with a small vacuum I am sure you'll get most of the rogue swarf out too.

    The main reason for advising against taking the head off is that it's a pig of a job and torqueing it down again is not a pleasure.
    Last edited by schlitzaugen; 9th October 2011 at 05:21 PM.
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    Instead of helicoils you can use sleeve style inserts with an inner and outer thread, run a suitable tap through the thread in the head, this enlarges the thread to that of the insert.
    Screw the insert onto the plug, then coat the outer thread of this with loctite and insert into the head, job done.
    I've done this a few times with earlier Peugeots with the head on.
    Graham

  18. #18
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    It's sounding tempting...I might have to start my first ever AF poll. Joking of course.


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  19. #19
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    I've been looking into this, and the best option seems to be a 'Timesert', which is a version of what Graham describes above. The good thing about this is that is has a flange at the top which seats onto the top of the hole, and there's a tool which is run through the insert when it's seated to open out the last bit of the insert so it won't wind back out. I'll just have to check the top flange isn't too thick so the plug doesn't extend into the CC far enough, but as they make a kit specifically for spark plug hole repair, it should be fine.

    Expensive though; a kit is circa $130 or thereabouts. I think there are a few inserts with it, though.

    Now I've just got to decide whether to do it with the head on or off.

    Can any of you who have done a few head transplants on an alloy blocked Mi give me some advice on whether there are pitfalls with corrosion on these alloy blocks? What I mean is whether I could regret taking the head off because the block might need work, or whether it's likely the block should just need a clean up and a new gasket.

    Note that this car has always had good coolant and the cooling system is very clean. It's done ~170,000km. Of course, I'm factoring in that the head could do with a going over, and that I'll need new bolts, but I'm just weighing up my options.

    Cheers

    Stuey


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  20. #20
    1000+ Posts schlitzaugen's Avatar
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    I think with the corrosion it's a matter of luck. I have opened engines which had crap coolant and they were fine and engines which had the best and they were corroded like swiss cheese. Do you feel lucky?

    If you have any long term plans for this car, perhaps it's worth digging deep and doing it right. I would even advise geting another good head and doing that one.

    If not, try the quick and dirty fix. Do the thread in situ, drive the car for as long as you can, worry about the rest later.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by schlitzaugen View Post
    I think with the corrosion it's a matter of luck. I have opened engines which had crap coolant and they were fine and engines which had the best and they were corroded like swiss cheese. Do you feel lucky?

    If you have any long term plans for this car, perhaps it's worth digging deep and doing it right. I would even advise geting another good head and doing that one.

    If not, try the quick and dirty fix. Do the thread in situ, drive the car for as long as you can, worry about the rest later.
    That's what I'd do, quick and dirty. Carefully. It isn't that "dirty".

    Why open a can of worms if other things are OK.

    If in doubt, I'd go and talk to Mark Dyson at Euromotive.

    Cheers
    JohnW

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  22. #22
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    Thanks guys. That's the way I'm leaning too.

    I was already going to ask Mark for an opinion this week. I'm considering getting Helicoil Man too. Thing is, though, that I want to potter about cleaning up a few bits and pieces (including the cam cover paint) so I'll enjoy doing it myself. Plus it's due a belt and tensioner job.

    Oh, and I may end up doing the clutch too. May as well get into all sides and have a look see.

    Stu


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  23. #23
    1000+ Posts PeterT's Avatar
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    Blocks are usually the cathode and heads the anode in this case. So expect some corrosion in the head if it hasn't been well looked after. It's usually easily repaired with a TIG welder however, then a skim.

    '92 205 Mi16
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    Cheers Peter.


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    Hey guys;

    I thought I'd better update this for other people's info.

    I got a really nice bloke called Peter Whitefoot out to fix the thread. He's the Perth Helicoil Man, and what a relief! No joke, I called him one day and told him what the story was; he popped in to my place around 5:30pm - I thought he was just going to have a look. Nope. Reverses the wagon up, starts getting the tools out. What, now?!?

    Peter just happens to live a few hundred metres from me. He didn't have any issues with the position of the engine. His method is to get the valves open and continously blow compressed air through the cylinder while tapping the hole, and he uses the sleeve type insert mentioned above. The whole job from go to whoa took about 45 minutes. And it's spot on. What a legend!

    He left with instructions to turn the engine over before putting the plugs back in (next day when the thread lock had gone off fully). And best of all, he didn't even try to complain about access!

    The reason I took so long to post was to run it for a while to see. It's absolutely fine.

    Recommended. I won't post his phone number here, but it's easily locatable online or the usual places. Oh, and it was $150 - absolute bargain!

    Stuey


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