Back to the drawing board[203]
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  1. #1
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    Default Back to the drawing board[203]

    Today I did the second head tension and found that the cups under the rocker box are a bit different between 203 and 403, so got that sorted and no more leaking around plug tubes.
    Then out for a run and we have compression at last. Unlimited Head Jobs in Ashfield are awesome.
    So she's running pretty well for the first time since all the engine work.
    I stop and check it out after half an hour of cruising and all my hopes are shattered.
    Oil is seeping from the engine pulley and oily vapour plus a frequent drip is coming from the breather.
    I keep driving and in the space of 40k's it's thrown half the oil out.
    I can only assume one thing. Glazed bores! I further assume that the very low compression achieved by the first two heads was not sufficient power to properly bed the rings.
    So I'll have to park it out the back for awhile till I have enough time for another complete engine strip down.
    Not happy jack.
    Never let anyone tell you that cracks in 403 heads don't matter. I have heard this mantra from many directions but of course when I do it , it turns to $hit. I know this. It only ever happens to me.

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    1000+ Posts robmac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by luthier View Post
    Today I did the second head tension and found that the cups under the rocker box are a bit different between 203 and 403, so got that sorted and no more leaking around plug tubes.
    Then out for a run and we have compression at last. Unlimited Head Jobs in Ashfield are awesome.
    So she's running pretty well for the first time since all the engine work.
    I stop and check it out after half an hour of cruising and all my hopes are shattered.
    Oil is seeping from the engine pulley and oily vapour plus a frequent drip is coming from the breather.
    I keep driving and in the space of 40k's it's thrown half the oil out.
    I can only assume one thing. Glazed bores! I further assume that the very low compression achieved by the first two heads was not sufficient power to properly bed the rings.
    So I'll have to park it out the back for awhile till I have enough time for another complete engine strip down.
    Not happy jack.
    Never let anyone tell you that cracks in 403 heads don't matter. I have heard this mantra from many directions but of course when I do it , it turns to $hit. I know this. It only ever happens to me.
    I really feel for you.

    It's not just you - all of us have disasters.

    Give it break for a while and come back when the spirit improves.
    The less one interacts with rude, ignorant, critical and argumentative members. The more peaceful life becomes.

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    1000+ Posts bluey504's Avatar
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    Luthier can you get hold of an inspection camera? Whip out the sparkplug and insert, should confirm/deny glazed bores.
    Next phase is a bit/lot brutal...Hold rev's at around 3000 RPM and slowly mist in a good handful of Bon Ami dry powder. With a bit of luck this old style fix may fix the old style engine.
    The proper fix is a hone, this can be done in car and is quite messy, but as the engine has liners an in chassis re-build is possible. IMHO a remove and correct application of equipment/tools is the go, just so you know it's correct.....Whatever you do decide Don it will be done to the highest possible standard.
    Brendan

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    Don't despair Dan ,
    most seem to leak a bit at timing case,and drip a bit from breather
    there is only a slinger and depends how well it is centralised and its past history, if it annoys you add a lip seal to outside of the case.
    as for oil drip from the breather, make up a vertical pipe that feeds into the carby air intake

    a mate bought motor recon by a good pug mechanic and it dripped oil badly from the breather, converted to to PCV through the air intake

    so don't give up yet , give it a good bit of pedal up a few hills,

    and don't use Castrol GTX or any oil with friction modifiers in them as that wont help bedding rings

    drive it and enjoy it

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    Quote Originally Posted by alpine View Post
    Don't despair Dan ,
    most seem to leak a bit at timing case... drive it and enjoy it...
    Drive it? He said he lost half the oil in 40 km

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    Quote Originally Posted by luthier View Post
    Today I did the second head tension and found that the cups under the rocker box are a bit different between 203 and 403, so got that sorted and no more leaking around plug tubes.
    Then out for a run and we have compression at last. Unlimited Head Jobs in Ashfield are awesome.
    So she's running pretty well for the first time since all the engine work.
    I stop and check it out after half an hour of cruising and all my hopes are shattered.
    Oil is seeping from the engine pulley and oily vapour plus a frequent drip is coming from the breather.
    I keep driving and in the space of 40k's it's thrown half the oil out.
    I can only assume one thing. Glazed bores! I further assume that the very low compression achieved by the first two heads was not sufficient power to properly bed the rings.
    So I'll have to park it out the back for awhile till I have enough time for another complete engine strip down.
    Not happy jack.
    Never let anyone tell you that cracks in 403 heads don't matter. I have heard this mantra from many directions but of course when I do it , it turns to $hit. I know this. It only ever happens to me.
    Give it a compression test this will tell if there is blowby causing your problem.
    Graham

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    Quote Originally Posted by GRAHAM WALLIS View Post
    Give it a compression test this will tell if there is blowby causing your problem.
    Graham
    Alright, will do, but in the case that it has good compression, what else could cause it to throw oil like this?

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    Quote Originally Posted by alpine View Post
    Don't despair Dan ,
    most seem to leak a bit at timing case,and drip a bit from breather
    there is only a slinger and depends how well it is centralised and its past history, if it annoys you add a lip seal to outside of the case.
    as for oil drip from the breather, make up a vertical pipe that feeds into the carby air intake

    a mate bought motor recon by a good pug mechanic and it dripped oil badly from the breather, converted to to PCV through the air intake

    so don't give up yet , give it a good bit of pedal up a few hills,

    and don't use Castrol GTX or any oil with friction modifiers in them as that wont help bedding rings

    drive it and enjoy it
    I know what you are saying and I once had a 403 that spat quite a bit from the breather, so I collected it and returned it to the motor, but it was a dodgy rebuild with expanded pistons and had reached it's useby date. Come to think of it, you may have seen it or even acquired it because it ended up with Irish George who drove it down to your neck of the woods where he abandoned it. Grey with rust showing everywhere and sagging bum disease.
    But I digress. I don't wish to own such a motor again and this is excessive. It is not possible to 'live' with this amount of oil transfer and collecting oil this way and returning it is only short term till the crud gets through the bearings and it's cactus.
    No, that was a young fella's solution but I'm an old fella now and I want a good reliable engine.
    I can't see a way out short of a stripdown, but to ease the pain of this immediate problem after such a great head job I think I'll change the oil filter, refill it and take it to my bloke for twin carb manifolds and extractors. Then if he takes months it won't matter anymore.
    Eventually I'll have a beauty that goes hard.

  9. #9
    1000+ Posts Wildebeest's Avatar
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    Luthier,
    Thoroughly check out the engine breathing system for blockages in vacuum fittings [nipples]. Also the main breather pipe that exits to atmosphere, anyone left rag inside?
    Have any 203 breathing devices been fitted to the 403 that may not be comensurate? [The right word?]

    Graham's compression test? Go one better and carry out a cylinder 'leak down' test. This will establish if crankcase compression or heavy breathing is evident.
    Badly worn overhead [rockers] will consume oil although mainly on decelleration.

    Bluey504,
    "A sprinkle of Bon Ami". A bit desperate this. We used this method on Deutz diesels in underground equipment. They had reached their 'use by date' of course.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wildebeest View Post
    Luthier,
    Thoroughly check out the engine breathing system for blockages in vacuum fittings [nipples]. Also the main breather pipe that exits to atmosphere, anyone left rag inside?
    Have any 203 breathing devices been fitted to the 403 that may not be comensurate? [The right word?]

    Graham's compression test? Go one better and carry out a cylinder 'leak down' test. This will establish if crankcase compression or heavy breathing is evident.
    Badly worn overhead [rockers] will consume oil although mainly on decelleration.

    Bluey504,
    "A sprinkle of Bon Ami". A bit desperate this. We used this method on Deutz diesels in underground equipment. They had reached their 'use by date' of course.
    Leak down test? So I do a wet and dry compression test? I already know that I have brand new valve seats with multiple facets and this is where the compression is coming from. I do a test dry and then pour a little oil in the cylinder, this would usually test the difference between rings and valves, yes?
    So what's the leakdown test?

    I agree the Bon Ami is a bad idea. If it hones the bore, what does it do to the bearings? Sorry Bluey. Thanks for your thumbs up tho.

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    Quote Originally Posted by luthier View Post
    Leak down test?
    Basically, it utilizes a tool that takes the cylinder pressure, then monitors how it drops (gas air leaks out) over time. This will tell you how well the system seals and the cylinder(s) with the problem. Definately a great diagnostic tool and a good starting point before you get in too deep. Are you certain there is adequate crankcase ventilation/no blockage?

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    I know it seems bad but stand back and take a pause. I have done all sorts of similar things, assembled motors and had to strip them down again, but one of the most valuable things is a considered second opinion. Sometimes there is something you just don't see. But even if you do have to do a complete strip down, it's not some modern motor that will cost a fortune. It always feels awful to pull out a motor you've just put in but it's quicker second time around.
    Years ago a mate had a 403 motor done up by a Peugeot mechanic called McKenzie in Burke Rd. Some people remember him. Anyway it used a gallon of oil or thereabouts on a modest trip. McKenzie was not for quickly pulling the motor and it had quite a few trips back until the problem was solved when the Burke Rd traffic took the 403 out while it was being tested. Last done up motor using oil was a neighbours Suzuki Sierra which would you believe was sucking it through the fuel pump.

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    Dan, is there a lot of oil under the car?

    could it be leaking around the base dipstick tube ?

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    1000+ Posts Beano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wildebeest View Post
    Thoroughly check out the engine breathing system for blockages in vacuum fittings [nipples]. Also the main breather pipe that exits to atmosphere, anyone left rag inside?
    Have any 203 breathing devices been fitted to the 403 that may not be comensurate? [The right word?]

    .
    I'd like to second this suggestion in particular. A crankcase with blocked breathing will spit out oil pretty fast.

    Quote Originally Posted by Russell Hall View Post
    I know it seems bad but stand back and take a pause. I have done all sorts of similar things, assembled motors and had to strip them down again, but one of the most valuable things is a considered second opinion. Sometimes there is something you just don't see.
    Excellent advice too. SOMETHING odd is happening. I can't believe that glazed bores will cause the engine to spit out half it's oil in 40k. No no no. Take a break, do some tests, take another break, and think laterally. Erm.....a cracked ring or two might do it. But tests will reveal this.
    Last edited by Beano; 18th May 2012 at 10:41 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by alpine View Post
    Dan, is there a lot of oil under the car?

    could it be leaking around the base dipstick tube ?
    No it's quite obviously coming out the breather and dripping from the front pulley. It was that dripping that originally prompted me to pull the engine down as Mal said it would be a broken ring. I had three broken rings in that motor. This is not even the same block but it's the same symptoms. I doubt it's broken rings already with the new set of pistons and sleeves.
    But as Russell says at least it's not a modern engine. Not sure if that's better or worse. It's OK, I'll check the breather although I cleaned it and inspected it very thoroughly before it was fitted. And I will take it over to Mal for his expert eye before I rip it out again. I'm not too optimistic though. These type of things are rarely an easy fix as you well know.
    My patience has not run out yet but it is not limitless and has already been severely tried.
    We'll see what happens next time.

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    Is it possible I put the pistons/con rods in back to front? Would this cause all my problems? I've been wondering this for awhile.

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    I have been thinking about this for a while. First thing - 203/403 engines that have age on them and don't do much can have brittle rings so that hard revving can break them.
    Second - I've done up 403 heads on quite old motors and put them back without this problem. I don't think it is glazed bores.
    Pistons and con rods back to front - premature wear in about 30,000 miles. (Know that because a Ballarat 54 model was misassembled at the factory and that was its ring life). So that's not your problem.
    Look at the facts - motor is runnning ok, change over head- it might be a good head, if it's been machined compression might be up to 403b, but it's hardly putting a lot of stress on the bottom end because it's actually putting out less theoretical power than before. So it might be highly unlikely but you have to consider the possibility there is a head/gasket problem.

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    Thanks for the thoughts Russell, but you see this is not as you see it. The bottom end is a 403 block with a brand new set of pistons and sleeves and rings [and bearings] so we are not talking about old brittle rings. Neither are we talking about an engine that ran well before. Since building it I have had nothing but trouble. It has overheated from the beginning and at first I blamed a dodgy radiator. That has since been eliminated. I then looked to incorrect valve timing but have since verified to a fair degree that this is OK. Then I've had these leaking heads , both 403 heads, with cracks running between spark plug holes and inlet chambers, or exhaust chambers or both. The first head was so bad you could hear the phut phut as it leaked and when you took the plug out there was oil spewed up one side where the crack was. Sorry, but you must stop this mantra that the cracks don't matter. That is just wrong. That wrong info got me where I am.
    The second head seemed OK for a few drives but eventually went the same as the first.
    Then I took 4 heads to the place in Ashfield, Unlimited Head Jobs, and they pronounced them all officially too expensive to fix.
    I then took them a pair of 203 heads that still had the original machining marks across the face and one they said was worth doing. But they still had a heap of welding and replaced all seats.
    Anyway the head is at last good and now the oil blows.
    Tomorrow I'll do a comp test with and without oil. If I get good results with oil then the rings are at fault.
    I will then pull the motor again and pull the pistons and evaluate the rings and see whether I have installed the pistons right or wrong. I will also hone the bores.
    I really don't think there will be an alternative. But as I said I'll double check the breather and maybe take it to Mal Goodwin for a looksee.
    If however I find that the compression is OK then I will pull the small sump to check the alignment of the conrods and pistons.
    I just can't explain the overheating as well as everything else. Something is fundamentally wrong.

  19. #19
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    Does the oil pump have a pressure relief valve? Has it seized or is it blocked?
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    Just pull the engine and strip it. You've cooked her and she will have weak if not broken rings. It may even have crushed pistons if it got hot enough, too. Blowby is what you have.
    Strip it, take notes and pics and lets have a look and chat. I feel you will find marks on the bore from the rings having butted in the heat which not only scratches the bore but f***s the ring, sometimes breaks it. Get it out and stripped before you lose heart! Don't drive it as that might damage a piston with a fluttering ring.

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    Quote Originally Posted by luthier View Post
    Is it possible I put the pistons/con rods in back to front? Would this cause all my problems? I've been wondering this for awhile.
    Yes, but probably wouldn't cause problems of this type.
    Did you have the mark on the top of the piston pointing the right way, also the squirter on the rod pointing towards the thrust face of the piston, away from the camshaft side?
    Graham
    Last edited by GRAHAM WALLIS; 19th May 2012 at 08:07 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GRAHAM WALLIS View Post
    Yes, but probably wouldn't cause problems of this type.
    Did you have the mark on the top of the piston pointing the right way, also the squirter on the rod pointing towards the thrust face of the piston, away from the camshaft side?
    Graham
    Yes that's how I did it . Definitely with the arrows towards the front on the pistons and the squirter on the side away from the camshaft.
    I think I'll take off that spinon filter body and fit a standard one . I have thought previously that there could be a lot of oil cooling in that original alloy bell. And the chambers need another look although I did look carefully at assembly. Perhaps something has become lodged somewhere.
    I did grind the faces of the oil pump on glass when I put it together. It looked good to my eye.
    Then there's the gearbox which is pretty noisy. I'm wondering if it could be dragging to cause overheating but that's probably unlikely.
    Will report any findings. Comp test first.
    I haven't yet actually cooked it. It just runs on the high side sitting on 180 on the flat and going up to 200F on a big climb so I don't think that will have actually destroyed anything. It's only done 900miles since it went together.
    There were still honing marks about an inch below the top of the cylinder when I had the head off two days ago, but it was fairly polished on that top inch. I was hoping this meant that the rings had bedded into that area.
    I'll take the crankcase ventilation pipe off for a good look as well.

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    luthier,

    In the '70 I had a 203 panel van with 404 sleeves,with high compression. On a trip up the north coast of NSW I was losing oil from the same area. ie;engine pulley, with a very light tic sound which got louder with the more miles I did.
    The oil I put in the top came out the timing case like what you are saying! With my engine, when I pulled it down I found it had a broken crankshaft. which was not uncommon with the guys doing this at that time. pugmachine

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    The amount of oil coming out of the breather indicates poor ring sealing. We need to check ring gaps for a start. Just a thought, is it possible the head gasket can go on back to front? The slant engines ran very hot if one fitted the gasket the wrong way! Ignition timing curve can be retarded enough to cause heat problems too. I can set your dist up on my distributor graph if you like. A 404/504/505 M48,77,53 all of them fit but are totally wrong for the old engine. That will give heat problems, too. along with pinging you won't hear.
    What about rings fitted upside down as well?

  25. #25
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    I just got back from giving it a good thrashing.
    When I did the compression test it read 90psi dry and 110 with a bit of oil squirted in there. I was ready to concede defeat but the other thing was the plugs were too white.
    I had a 137 main jet in it which was the biggest I had. I checked out the difference in size between that and the next one down which was a 120. Then I had three 105's.
    I could see that if I drilled one with a 1/16" drill it would be a similar step up from the 137 so I did.
    With that fitted the temp didn't go above 190F even when I thrashed it hard. I began another hard run in type drive, taking it out to 60 in 3rd and up to 80 in top.
    It sounds a bit harsh but after it seemed to run smoother. As there were still some hone marks in the bore from an inch below the top I thought it worth a try to see if I can bring compression up.
    I also changed the oil and filter just before this and it hadn't seemed to be down on the level after I'd done an hours thrash. Used a fair bit of petrol though.
    So I haven't decided to pull it down yet and I have a bit more hope now. I haven't actually cooked it, but have brought it to 200F quite a few times.
    I'm wondering if the main jet could go even a bit bigger but I'll pull the plugs tomorrow to see the colour. Does anyone know if there are other jets that should be increased as well?
    One thing that happened today, same as yesterday was at a point when I stopped I noticed petrol pissing out around the base of the carby which then stopped as I restarted. As it happened yesterday it's obviously not a result of drilling out the jet. Maybe the float level is too high or it's a sticking needle in the seat.
    There is one thing that will require the head off again soonish which is one of the rear welch plugs is leaking. So even if I get compression to a fair level there'll be that little chore. Plus the noise of this thing is a bit beyond my comfort zone when it gets given the boot. I will have to organize a silencer like the 403 among other ideas.
    I don't understand why it spat so much oil yesterday but today it seemed to enjoy the thrash. I'd say just having it running that little bit cooler is the reason.

    Feeling a lot better about all that. What would the ideal compression be for that motor? Probably a bit lower than standard 403 as it has flat pistons with domed head cavities.

    Cheers and thanks for all your input.

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