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Engine diagnosis

On-board diagnostics Codes for misfires (OBDII) Functional tests for power balance (Prior to OBDII) Further considerations Mileage Oil consumption Noises

Copyright 2003 Gary Lewis - Dave Capitolo

Check engine performance


Valve-to-seat leakage causes . . . Rough idle Power loss Timing chain/belt failure can cause . . . No start Rough idle Mistaken for valve problem Misfiring cylinder causes . . . Rough idle Power loss

Check engine performance


Engine oil problems Leaks Oil consumption Misfiring from fouled spark plugs Smoke on acceleration worn rings Smoke on deceleration worn guides Valve related noises Popping at exhaust pipe - leaking exhaust valve Backfire through intake leaking intake valve or exhaust valve not opening Valve lash noises adjustment or wear in valve train

Effects of temperature, frequency, and oil pressure


Temperature Piston noises are effected by temp Piston noises are reduced with heat Frequency Noises at crankshaft speed are valve train Noises at crankshaft speed are piston/rod assm.

Diagnostic techniques
Oil pressure Noises at crankshaft speed that diminish with oil pressure are due to rod bearing clearance Noises at crankshaft speed that diminish with oil pressure are from hydraulic lifters

Block check Draw vapor from radiator through solution Turns yellow if combustion gases are present Exhaust gas analyzer Place probe OVER radiator filler neck Check for HC

Diagnostic techniques
Power balance test To find cylinders with poor contribution Raise engine RPM and ground plug wire RPM drop of suspect cylinder will be less than the rest Power balance test using Scan tool

Diagnostic techniques
Compression test To determine if rings or valves are faulty

Set up Specs Warm engine 10% variation Remove plugs 20 PSI difference Disable ignition or fuel 75% of high cyl Connect tester Results Record first and last readings Add oil to low cylinders & retest High results are from carbon build up Low readings on adjacent cylinders head gasket

Diagnostic techniques
Cylinder leakage test To pinpoint rings, intake, or exhaust valves are faulty

Set up Piston at TDC compression Air leaks . . . Add shop air (100PSI) Intake system intake valve Tail pipe exhaust valve Open throttle Crankcase rings Remove oil filler cap Radiator crack or gasket Results 20% to 30% considered poor Normal leakage increases with bore diameter

Diagnostic techniques
Vacuum testing Set up Connect gauge to manifold vacuum Shortest possible hose Normal between 17 and 21 Hg. Minus 1 per 1000 ft. elevation increase Results Low steady readings vacuum leak, late ignition timing, or worn rings Intermittently dropping sticking valves Rapid needle movement leaking valves Rapid needle movement on accel valve springs

Diagnostic techniques
Vacuum testing Ring leakage & exhaust restriction Note vacuum at idle Hold engine at 2,000 RPM Release throttle rapidly & watch vacuum rebound < 3 inches of rebound indicates worn rings Slowly returning needle indicates exhaust restriction Check vacuum at 3,000 RPM to confirm restriction

Diagnostic techniques
To check timing chain backlash Rotate engine forward until timing mark is at TDC Mark the position of ignition rotor Rotate engine opposite direction until rotor moves Read back lash amount on timing marks

Diagnostic techniques
To check valve timing Timing marks on sprockets #1 at TDC compression Companion at TDC exhaust

Exhaust backpressure Restricted exhaust increases backpressure With no engine load should not exceed 1.5 PSI

Engine noises
Valve train noises Use stethoscope at each rocker Anything that runs at camshaft speed Excessive main bearing clearance Deep metallic knock Low oil pressure Most noticeable under heavy load Excessive crankshaft endplay Sharp metallic rap More noticeable when pressing or releasing clutch

Engine noises
Excessive connecting rod clearance Metallic rap Noticeable under light load Frequency increases with engine RPM Isolate by grounding plug wire Excessive piston clearance Piston slap is heard as dull rattle May diminish with temperature increase Excessive piston pin clearance Light metallic rap at idle and low speeds Isolate by grounding plug wire frequency

Testing oil pressure


Oil pressure facts Engines can idle with < the oil pressure at cruise Oil pressure can drop in once the engine warms up Some engines have less than 15 PSI at warm idle