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Thread: New Kid on the (engine) Block...

  1. #1

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    Cool New Kid on the (engine) Block...

    Hello all,
    Happy to be a part of MR50, here's my formal intro. I'm 24 years old with a background in woodworking/construction/maintenance. Some experience with cars, but this 1990 Dodge Ram 50 has been my first real foray into the world of engines. A quick word about my acquisition of said DR50. I bought this truck from a little old guy down in Goliad, TX with a little over 100k on the clock. It was old, it smoked a bit, but it was cheap and I fell in love the minute I got behind the wheel. That said, I'm not so in love with the way the guy took care of this thing. I am currently replacing the timing belt and the *infamous* silent shaft belt, both of which failed a couple days ago as I was helping a certain lady move a mattress. I have both belts off, I cleaned around the area, which was a gunky mess due to the timing cover gasket looking like a burned noodle, and I'm now trying unsuccessfully to loosen the crankshaft sprocket bolt. Any tips to getting this damn thing to budge? Again, all help is much appreciated. I look forward to contributing where I can. Thanks!

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    There is always one method that never fails but is somewhat dubious. Fit a socket onto the main bolt with a breaker handle or ratchet, slip a metal tube over the handle and let the end of the extended handle butt up against something solid. Pull the main coil lead off and quickly click the ignition over briefly - and it will undo itself. Guaranteed to undo it every time.

  3. #3

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    Thanks Geezer,
    Does the timing belt/ balance shaft belt need to be in place for this to work? The only reason I'm trying to pull the crank sprocket is because, from my understanding, it needs to be off in order to install the balance shaft belt...

  4. #4

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    Nope. Won't need the belt until you're ready to put it back together. But make sure you set it correctly or it will grief you no end. They vibrate like hell if they're not timed.

  5. #5

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    Awesome. Yeah I spent a good deal of time trying to figure out the timing marks and such...they don't exactly make it easy. Thank god for the Haynes/archives in this forum. Thanks again. I'll give this a shot in the morning

  6. #6

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    I'm now trying unsuccessfully to loosen the crankshaft sprocket bolt. Any tips to getting this damn thing to budge?
    Hey cjb, geezer's way is one you can try, or I offer an alternative -

    I managed to do this by myself. It involves taking the inspection cover off the bottom of the transmission. (Be mindful of the nuts and bolts and where you place them). My trans is a 5-speed, but the automatic has the same basics: a flywheel with teeth for the starter. You’ll need to put a screwdriver on the right-hand side of the bottom of the bell housing, in one of those teeth, to keep the engine from turning while you loosen the crankshaft pulley bolt. Do not use the starter motor hole for this task. With the 19MM socket and ” drive handle set to remove the bolt (counter-clockwise) you’ll do well to put a 24” or so piece of pipe on the ratchet handle…some call it a “cheater bar”, others call it “leverage pipe”. If it’s behind your front seat, it’s a “defense mechanism”.

    You can hold the screwdriver in place, on the surface of the bell housing while engaged in the flywheel gear-tooth, and pull (or push) the ratchet with your other hand. Using your leg is fair game. It shouldn’t take much to get the bolt loose, and from there you can just ratchet it off.
    Taken from my own build thread http://www.mightyram50.net/vbulletin...ll=1#post26676

    IMPORTANT to note when you begin belt replacement is the actual timing mark on the head. It is a bump on the front of the head, not the top of the head. This is a very common mistake made by many, which results in the timing being a tooth off. Note the photo below: it shows the timing mark. (Click on the image to enlarge)

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    Timing belt replacement help http://www.mightyram50.net/vbulletin...ll=1#post26743

    Keep us posted and post some pictures!
    Last edited by royster; 02-02-2016 at 08:11 PM.
    The greatest gift you have to give to the world is that of your own self~transformation.

  7. #7

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    Thanks for your input Royster, your archived posts have been a big help. Geezer's cheater pipe/ignition trick worked right away, so I didn't get to test out the alternative. Something I noticed once I got the crankshaft sprocket off is that some of the little holes in the sprocket are threaded. Theoretically, couldn't you screw in a bolt and use that for leverage against the crank bolt? Anyone else noticed/tried this? Here's a pic...


    I'll post more pics as I continue through this process, including some of the beat up little truck once the sun's at a better angle. Thanks to everyone who's contributed! Looking at you Royster, Geezer
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  8. #8

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    I'm thinking those little holes are for the pulley, and you wouldn't want to endanger them.

    Glad to be of help. I wish geezer was around when I was up to my lug nuts in questions, but the forum members got me through, just the same.
    The greatest gift you have to give to the world is that of your own self~transformation.

  9. #9

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    Oh you're right Royster. They're for the pulley I just forgot Def wouldn't want to flub those up.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by royster View Post
    ...I wish geezer was around when I was up to my lug nuts in questions, but the forum members got me through, just the same.
    ...a dangerous proposition Roy! lol I don't always get it right but I have a knack for running into the weird stuff that nobody seems to have a response to. I'm left to my own crude, hamfisted devices and usually get the banana. When I get it wrong I get 2 things - I learn sumpin' new and I (most of the time) get flamed.

    Glad you got the sprocket off without a fight cjb.

  11. #11

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    Geezer's cheater pipe/ignition trick worked right away, so I didn't get to test out the alternative.
    You might want to consider my approach (in reversal) when you go to tighten that bolt back on. Geezer might have an idea (he gets those, from time to time) that he can offer. I only cite my approach because that's how I did it.

    ˙ǝlqɐɔ ɥɔʇnlɔ ǝɥʇ ɹoɟ sı ǝɹǝɥ ɹǝʌo ʇloq sıɥʇ 'ʞɔnɹʇ ǝɥʇ ɹǝpun ǝɹ,noʎ ǝɔuo puɐ˙˙˙
    The greatest gift you have to give to the world is that of your own self~transformation.

  12. #12

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    Ok, so alot of updates. This may be TLDR for some, but I hope some of you read it because I could really use the input. Also, photos to come, I can't get them to upload properly right now. So when I bought my truck, I noticed low power and some white smoke upon start-up/while idling. I could also smell the engine running rich. I suspected head gasket issues, so while I had the timing belt off i decided to open up the head and see for myself. I'll spare you the process of opening up the head (unless someone requests it), as I assume many of you have done it before. I removed the head and the intake manifold assembly in one piece, and I really recommend that procedure, because those bottom mounting bolts are damn near impossible to access with the intake still in the bay. After lifting off the head, I inspected the gasket/mating surfaces/block/cylinders and everything looked AOK. However, as I hand cranked the engine to observe the piston action, a pretty badass thing to witness IMO, I noticed some coolant in cylinder number three. Having observed no failures in the head gasket, and no cracks, I thought to inspect the intake manifold gasket. Sure enough, the damn thing was about 75% there, and it was FRIED. I notice some coolant pooling in the channel around the intake plenus that leads to...you guessed it...cylinder #3. So, obviously I need to replace the intake gasket, but this doesn't necessarily solve my low power problem, and it definitely doesn't solve my running rich problem.

    My questions to you artful Dodgers:
    1. Should I be thinking about valve seals?
    2. Mass air flow sensor?
    3. O2 sensor?
    4. WHat's the best way to clean the head?
    5. What's the best way to clean the valves?
    6. What else should I do while my engine is disassembled?
    7. Which things are poking me in the eye without my realizing?
    8. Any and all advice is welcome


    Thanks!

  13. #13

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    Hey cjb!

    By the symptoms, I'd say your valve seals need replacing, and since you've got the head off, what a great time to do that.

    1. Should I be thinking about valve seals? If your love life is lacking, why not?
    Seriously, though: yes. About $20 for the set.


    2. Mass air flow sensor? I'm not prone to recommend that: try cleaning it first with MAF spray.

    3. O2 sensor? If you think the present one is pretty old, why not?

    4. WHat's the best way to clean the head? Some think meditation is best, others use deep breathing chants.
    For your vehicle, however, a good general cleansing with (I use) brake cleaner spray.
    I have heard you can re-surface the head using a sheet of thick glass and sheets of sand paper...
    if you don't want to send it out for resurfacing. BE SURE to take this opportunity to clean
    the EGR passage, and that will require some overnight soaking (I used SeaFoam) and perhaps
    snaking it open with a wire, flushing it out some more, until you have a clear passage.


    5. What's the best way to clean the valves? I used a Dremel tool with a wire wheel attachment.

    6. What else should I do while my engine is disassembled? A great opportunity to do some simple cleaning,
    like the plenum. Detail work will be of great benefit
    like familiarising yourself with your engine.


    7. Which things are poking me in the eye without my realizing? That's one of those "Illuminati" questions I'm reluctant
    to answer.


    8. Any and all advice is welcome Do your best to keep the process clean as possible. Also, a little trick for when you
    go to put your rocker assembly back:

    http://www.mightyram50.net/vbulletin...ll=1#post26624
    The greatest gift you have to give to the world is that of your own self~transformation.

  14. #14

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    Royster for the win! Thanks for the response! I'm gonna order some stuff from Rock Auto and plan my attack. Looks like I need to pick up some SeaFoam. I'll keep you posted! Thanks again.

  15. #15

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    All kinds of great pointers on my build thread, cjb: help yourself to the info.

    Be sure to get some JB Blaster, to loosen up bolts (I'm sure you already have some). And a mechanic friend of mine recommended Mystery Oil for soaking the new lifters in, but if you're not replacing those, a soak wouldn't hurt them.


    SeaFoam is absolutely cheapest at Wal*Mart, and usually most expensive at Advance Auto. I pay $6.74 per can at Mal*Wart.

    I betcha geezer has all kinds of other suggestions, too!

    Best of luck!
    The greatest gift you have to give to the world is that of your own self~transformation.

  16. #16

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    Yeah they've been a big help through this process! A quick question while you're still here. Piston rings?

  17. #17

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    Whew, I didn't mess with those because that gets into some tools and commitment I was not prepared for. Nor did I need them: although the truck's clock reads 234,500 miles, the compression's fine, doesn't smoke since I replaced valve seals.

    I haven't fooled around with ridge reamers and ring compressers since high school. And all that micrometer stuff.

    Do you have cross hatching on your cylinder walls? Probably a bit, and if the carbon ridge isn't much, I wouldn't worry about rings for now.

    You might want to re-read my previous post, as I edited it.
    The greatest gift you have to give to the world is that of your own self~transformation.

  18. #18

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    If you're pulling the head off - a couple of things to do that are worth while. Port and polish - a little goes a long way. They don't need to be savaged with a carbide tip, just look at the ports and tidy up sharp edges and anything that looks like crap. Match the inlet manifold to the ports for nice throttle response, smoother idle and power delivery. Don't open up the exhaust ports - it will kill power straight up for good (but if you're feeling ambitious by all means get the port walls glass smooth - it helps exhaust dark magic pulse scavenging and flow stuff).

    As for cleaning a cruddy engine - non caustic oven cleaner. Spray it on, work it with a brush, hose it off. It's cheap, clean to work with (compared to having diluted grease and oil melting everywhere) and takes less cans than traditional aerosol methods. It works really well and is safe enough to get on your hands or paint without fear of it destroying stuff.

    Cleaning valves - wet and dry paper + a power drill (small dremel type grinding stone is optional here and a drill press would be even better) Wrap the valve stem with fine wet and dry with the abrasive side facing the stem shaft, then insert the wrapped area of the stem shaft into the chuck of your drill and nip it up firmly by hand only (the wet and dry allows the chuck to hold on firmly without risk of gouging metal if it spins). Power the drill up, keep the revs low, then work up and down the back of the valve head gradually to remove carbon and junk. I used a dremel fine grinding stone and gently linished the back of the valve and face - it made quick work of it. Avoid the stem unless you're going for fine wet and dry (it will tidy up the stem nicely). Keep the valves and spring assemblies marked for their perspective chambers so they go home from whence they came - technically you shouldn't need to but sometimes weird things happen. I sent all my valve assemblies off in a segmented organiser carry box (OCD much?) Better to be safe than sorry...

    If you're sending the head in for machine work do the above first. They'll recut the valve seats and valves and it will avoid you accidentally messing up their work. And cleanliness is half the battle won.

  19. #19

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    Thanks for your input, Geezer! I'll be sure to remember that as I get further along in the process. I'll fill you guys in on some recent developments. I finally have photos, so that'll be helpful I hope. OK, starting from the beginning. Sorry if some of these images are poor quality.

    Here's the head gasket, which seems to be in pretty good shape. I don't know much about how used gaskets are supposed to look, but there were no cracks and it seemed pretty serviceable to me.

    Here's the block in engine, with exposed mating surface (scandalous)...

    This is what my intake manifold gasket looked like as it flaked off the manifold....yikes.
    Ok...here's where the plot thickens.


    This is a picture of cylinder 3, with evidence of some strange divots in the top of the piston...I'm kind of at a loss as to what may have caused this. There are corresponding marks on the cylinder head, shown in the next photo (after a couple rounds of cleaning) shout out to royster and geezer here for their gunk-busting suggestions:


    So how big of a problem are these little divots? They aren't part of the gasket coverage area so technically they won't affect the seal...right?
    Now, the plot thickens even more:

    It's damn near impossible to see in this picture, but there's a hairline crack in the valve bowl running from the spark plug hole to that exhaust valve. it's probably a centimeter long and very very thin, but it's there. Opinions?

    In sum,
    Keeping in mind that my initial problem was smoke, low power, and running rich, and given these new discoveries, I'm inclined to say that both the little crack and the divots in the piston aren't huge issues, the head can still be reused. Royster mentioned he thought the low power was coming from bad valve seals. Any ideas/comments/suggestions/snide remarks?

    P.S. Has anyone had their head machined/valve seats reground/know how much that should cost me?

    A big thanks to everyone again.

  20. #20

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    Head recons are whatever they want to charge. For me? $300 in Oz dollars is a hot tank, check for trueness, serviceable head thickness, welding (any cracks/corrosion), oven baking and pressing straight, 3 way valve and seat cut and refacing post welding. It will depend on what needs to be done which will impact hours of labour provided. Dents in the head and combustion chamber? Sounds like something made it's way into #3 and bounced around until it was either destroyed or spat out the exhaust port. It won't have any impact on how #3 is running. But that crack in the cylinder head is an issue. If a machine shop says it can be welded and they're confident, then go ahead. Otherwise you're up for a replacement one.

  21. #21

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    Not sure if it's just my computer, but I can't see ANY of your photos.
    The greatest gift you have to give to the world is that of your own self~transformation.

  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by royster View Post
    Not sure if it's just my computer, but I can't see ANY of your photos.
    Certainly not your puter......I can't see then either.
    ~~~~~~My toys~~~~
    1984 Dodge D-50 (Daily driver, when raining)
    1990 Mitsubishi Mighty Max (Trying to figure out no power and sputtering)
    2006 Harley Davidson Heritage Softail (Rider when it's not raining and cold)
    1975 Honda CB750K5 (Rider when it's not raining and warm)
    1974 Honda CB350F1 (In paint for tins)
    1972 Honda CB175K6 (Just a rolling chassis, no engine)
    1972 Honda CB100K2 (Needs an engine, and rebuilding) (shhhh...if wife knew I had this, she be pizzzed)
    ~~~~~or headaches~~~~~

  23. #23

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    Sorry guys, I may be a "millenial" but I sure don't know much about computers. These should work. If they don't, maybe I'll have to borrow a laptop. This is all being done from iPad.
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  24. #24

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    Err, that damage in #3 does not look good. I might be wrong but to me that looks like thermal damage/detonation.

  25. #25

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    Geezer, what does that mean for me?

    i'd also like to note that it never got close to overheating when I drove it...

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