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Can you reseat piston rings?

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pmaenner View Drop Down
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    Posted: 21-July-2022 at 1:11AM
Good Morning everyone,
 
   Been awhile, I was overseas and just got back.  I am having an issue with my gran torino elite, I think it is bad rings.  I need some advice from more experienced engine guys and gals as I am a novice when it comes to building engines.

   Last year, I rebuilt the 351w in my torino, nothing crazy, just higher compression and a hotter cam.  I broke the engine in for 20 minutes, changed the oil, and then drove it for another 400 miles, I was pretty strict in following the engine break in for the rings (or at least I thought I was).  By this time, I was getting ready for a deployment, so I fogged the engine and stored the car.

    I got back, changed the oil, primed the engine, and fired it up with no issues.  I've been driving it around for another 200-300 miles.  Mostly highway, some spirited driving around the back roads.  Yesterday, I was doing some errands.  After my second stop, I noticed white/grey smoke out the exhaust wen I started up, disappeared as soon as I started driving. I thought it was a bad head gasket, so I drove it home and looked it over.  Oil was still clean, coolant was still clean.  When I ran the car, there were no bubbles in the coolant.  I did a compression test and all of my cylinders were low.  When I did a wet test, all the cylinder pressures increased.  It was about 120 psi dry, and 180 psi wet. So, I think the issue is bad rings.

    I've only about 800 miles on the engine, could rings go bad in that short amount of time?  Could the rings be stuck from sitting for a year?  I was reading its possible to reseat rings by spraying some top-end cleaner in the spark plug holes, rotating the engine a bit and letting it sit for a day.  Then repeating the engine break in process.  What works best?  I was reading ATF fluid, Sea-Foam, ATF fluid mixed with acetone, PB blaster?

    I am running 10w-30 in the engine now, would moving up to a heavier oil also help?  15w-40 or 20w-50?  

   I appreciate your advice, want to try everything I can before tearing the engine down again.

-Pete
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 72 RS 351 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-July-2022 at 2:31AM
I would hope that there is a little build up on the rings from not running for so long. Try some various cleaners in the oil and see i it improves at all. Try things like Marvel Mystery oil, or for brief periods, some ATF or other things people have tried. You can't use a synthetic oil yet, but see what high detergent oils they make in dino oils.

You might before an oil change, pour something in the cylinders to set overnight.
Don
73 Ranchero Sport "72 front end", floor shift/console, planning EFI 7000rpm 351-4V &4R70W
73 Ranchero GT 351C-4V 3.70 gears for sale later.
92 Lincoln Mark VII SE, OBDII 347/4R70W
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote aquartlow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-July-2022 at 5:39AM
Before blaming the rings, check the vacuum hose going to transmission modulator valve for trans fluid(ruptured modulator vacuum diaphragm). Engine oil usually burns bluish but trans fluid is more on the white side, may save you a headache or two. Hope this helps
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pmaenner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-July-2022 at 6:04AM
I fitted in a 4r70w transmission into the torino, so there isn't a vacuum modulator.  I'm leaning towards the rings, because of the wet compression test results, I'm glad to hear any other possibilities that may be causing the issue.  I appreciate everyone's advice!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rockatansky Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-July-2022 at 10:35AM
describe the rebuild, did you have the cylinders bored / honed oversize or did you do a home garage berry bush job?

do you know what the final grit finish is?

new pistons? what type of rings, chrome, cast iron, or moly faced?

did you ever retorque the heads after some heat cycles, hot or cold?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pmaenner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-July-2022 at 2:39PM
All the machining was done by a local machine shop with a good rep.  Block was bored out .040.  Forget what the final bore grit was, but it had nice cross hatch in them.  New pistons, hypereutectic. Rings were moly, hastings brand. I re-torqued the head bolts after 3 heat cycles, same with the intake manifold. re-torqued them when the engine was cold.

Did another compression test when the engine was cold and the cranking pressure was a bit higher.  When it was hot and dry, it was around 115.  This morning it was about 130 cold.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote californiajohnny Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-July-2022 at 8:16AM
 check your plugs and see if 1 or 2 is burning different... 120-150 is normal for any engine
JOHN
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pmaenner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-July-2022 at 8:28AM
Plugs all look the same, no one or two stands out from the rest.  Gotcha on the readings, how much should it jump up with a wet test?  Maybe I did it incorrectly?  After taking the dry readings, I squirted a little oil into the cylinders via the sparkplug hole and then repeated the test.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 72 RS 351 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-July-2022 at 9:09AM
It may be in the normal range for the compression test. How about a leak down test, that's very helpful too.
Don
73 Ranchero Sport "72 front end", floor shift/console, planning EFI 7000rpm 351-4V &4R70W
73 Ranchero GT 351C-4V 3.70 gears for sale later.
92 Lincoln Mark VII SE, OBDII 347/4R70W
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pmaenner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-July-2022 at 9:44AM
I gotta get my rig back for the leak down test, I lent it out.  For the time being, I'm gonna try the top end cleaner, and then run it again, see if there is any improvement.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rockatansky Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-July-2022 at 9:55AM
yes i forgot to mention check the plugs for any that stand out as being cleaner than the others,

clean plugs means coolant getting into the cylinder / blown head gasket
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote aquartlow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-July-2022 at 10:22AM
Originally posted by pmaenner pmaenner wrote:

I fitted in a 4r70w transmission into the torino, so there isn't a vacuum modulator.  I'm leaning towards the rings, because of the wet compression test results, I'm glad to hear any other possibilities that may be causing the issue.  I appreciate everyone's advice!
Thumbs Up, I didn't realize you upgraded the transmission.  
www.supermotors.net/22468
Yeah, It's a Hybrid...It burns gas and tires.

No matter how good she looks, somebody, somewhere, is tired of her sh*t.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 78FordLtd2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-July-2022 at 9:03PM
FWIW, I wouldn't be as concerned about the compression test psi numbers being what they are but rather if they were even. This is still a very fresh rebuild and the rings are still breaking in. I'd be more concerned if 7 of the 8 cylinders were at 120 and 1 was at 55 or the pressures on all of the cylinders were all over the place. That being said, I'd be tempted to drive it and put a few more miles on it if it is running good and see if there is any difference. You haven't said anything regarding engine performance that would concern you, so I'm going to assume that there are no issues with how it runs overall. 

Or, go further and do a leak down test using compressed air in the cylinders and look for air escaping from the carb and/or tailpipes. I've used a lit cigar and watched the movement of the smoke. Or listen...you might hear hissing. That's probably safer.

Smokey exhaust is not uncommon, especially if the old engine was an oil burner. The bit of smoke you see could be the old residue inside the pipes burning off. My old Mustang ll years ago did this after I rebuilt the oil burning 302 in it and it lasted quite a while until I finally changed the exhaust. It wasn't from the rebuilt 302. A failed modulator valve produces a huuuuge cloud and you don't have one of those, so it's not that.

I'd give it some time. It's still a fresh engine. Keep an eye on the fluids and the radio off in the meantime. 

I've built a couple of engines myself and I learned that when I got my parts back from the machine shop...check and measure everything. Look at the cylinders and spend some time honing them out. The machine shop usually don't spend too much time on honing. You want a good cross hatch surface in those bores for those rings to wear in and seal. Disassemble the heads and look at the valves and the valve seats. Did the machine shop lap the valves properly? On my last rebuild the machine shop installed new valves, seats and bronze guides but they did not do a good job on lapping the valves, so I got out my lapping cup and compound and touched them up again. You want a nicely defined line on the valve face, and not just a wipe. The valve has got to seal. 

Good for you on doing your rebuild yourself! It seems to be a dying hobby as a lot of guys go for a turn key crate engine. It's been a few years since I've built anything...life kinda gets in the way of things like this, unless you're making a living as a mechanic. Drank a lot of beer with my buddies in the garage while pulling and building an engine.





Edited by 78FordLtd2 - 22-July-2022 at 9:36PM
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pmaenner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-July-2022 at 1:41AM
Gotcha, I'll just give it a little more time.  Engine performance has been good, engine doesn't over heat, plugs look good, fluid levels seem steady. I'll keep a close eye on those. I was concerned about the smoke and the difference between the dry and wet tests, but all the cylinders were the same results.  I'll give it a couple hundred more miles and see what happens.
    And true on the life getting in the way.  This is just a hobby for me, I'm a novice.  I rebuilt an engine when I was a teenager, this is the second engine I've done but it's been quite a while since the first, pretty much forgotten everything by now.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rockatansky Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-July-2022 at 5:08AM
if you ever notice the cloud from the exhaust again, see if you can't get your sniffer in it to see what it is.
you said 'white/grey smoke' but could it have been a little blue-ish?

Old Wives Rule Of Thumb, 70% of oil consumption is the valve guides

what was done to the heads?




Edited by Rockatansky - 23-July-2022 at 8:53AM
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Greg73Oregon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-July-2022 at 7:10AM
Rings were "Clocked" correctly? (Ring gaps orientated so there is not a straight path for oil/exhaust to leak through).
GKF
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pmaenner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-July-2022 at 11:13AM
My sense of color is not the best, but I'll try to get a better view of it as soon as I can get some time.  The heads were rebuilt at the machine shop, new valves, guides, seats, seals.  I set the rings so the none of the gaps lined up. 
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