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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-18-2010, 01:19 PM Thread Starter
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Possible bad rings?

Hi. I know that this is a Thunderbird forum, and I have a TBird. But my daily driver (a 2.3l Tempo) is acting funny. I don't want a specific answer, just a general answer to my problem.

About 3 weeks ago, my engine started making a "ticking" sound right where the head meats the engine block. When you open the valve cover with the engine running, there is a rush of air. Like a turbo spooling up 7lbs of boost, coming out of the valve cover. The spark plugs are and orange/brick color and have a "sandy" (a very rough cover) coating over them. Also, the sparks are badly covered in oil from the bolt up (not the threads down). There is also a loss of compression, and a lack of power. There is no smoke at all, what so ever. Not even start up.

What could cause this? I think it might be a bent valve, bad valve seals, or bad piston rings. Piston rings mainly. But the lack of smoke throws me off?

Any help?
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-18-2010, 01:41 PM
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Couple of questions: What year Tempo? And when was the last time you did a tune up? You plug sounds like a normal worn out plug:

http://www.machv.com/diagsparplug.html
http://www.machv.com/norworplug.html

When you say "open the valve cover" do you mean removing the oil fill plug or something else?

Oil on the bolt is usually a leaking valve cover gasket.

When you say "loss of compression" is that based on a compression or leak down test? Or simply that it has no power?

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-18-2010, 01:49 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 94 Daily Driven 4.6L View Post
Couple of questions: What year Tempo? And when was the last time you did a tune up? You plug sounds like a normal worn out plug:

http://www.machv.com/diagsparplug.html
http://www.machv.com/norworplug.html

When you say "open the valve cover" do you mean removing the oil fill plug or something else?

Oil on the bolt is usually a leaking valve cover gasket.

When you say "loss of compression" is that based on a compression or leak down test? Or simply that it has no power?
It's a 94 Tempo. I did a full tune up about 3 months (4000 miles) ago, and the oil change last week.

The plugs are normal wear. I'm used to blackish plugs due to my TBird running a little rich.

I mean, opening the oil fill plug. That cover that says the oil type (5W-20; for example)

Very low power (even for a tempo; feels like it has only 50HP).
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-18-2010, 02:23 PM
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Yeah if you just did a tune up, the plugs should look brand new. Tune up include fuel filter?

I would do a quick compression check just to see if you've dropped a cylinder. I'm not familiar with the engine layout, but FWD, transverse engine should be easy to get to the plugs (I would assume). You can probably rent the compression tester at AutoZone (loan a tool program). Then if you have a flat cylinder, you can do a leak down test to have an idea where the compression is leaking from.

And don't be knocking 50 hp.... my Aspire only has 63.

Good luck and keep us informed.

97 Lincoln Mark VIII LSC (Chip'd, 3.73 T/L... so far... )
97 Ford Aspire (Slow, but getting 36 mpg (f'n Ethenol!! )
84 F250 Dually w/6.9L Diesel (7.3L IDI pending)
73 Mercury Cougar Convertible w/351C 4V (Partially Restored)
69 F100 LWB w/460 Engine
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-18-2010, 02:33 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 94 Daily Driven 4.6L View Post
Yeah if you just did a tune up, the plugs should look brand new. Tune up include fuel filter?

I would do a quick compression check just to see if you've dropped a cylinder. I'm not familiar with the engine layout, but FWD, transverse engine should be easy to get to the plugs (I would assume). You can probably rent the compression tester at AutoZone (loan a tool program). Then if you have a flat cylinder, you can do a leak down test to have an idea where the compression is leaking from.

And don't be knocking 50 hp.... my Aspire only has 63.

Good luck and keep us informed.
Fuel filter was replace, along with the injectors, and fuel pump about 5 months ago. Engine layout is a pushrod style 4.6l with only 4 cyliders instead of 8 (half the motor).

How does one perform a compression test? I've done a lot to cars and engines, but never a true compression test. What is a leak down test, and again, how to?

I'm used to my Tempo having the (my) normal 135HP (upgraded injectors, exhaust, and slightly improved motor).
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-18-2010, 02:39 PM
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Compression tests are VERY simple:

Cliff notes:
Get said tester


Remove all the plugs
Remove the injector plugs (don't want to be spraying fuel...)
Screw the tester into one of the plug holes
Crank the engine over and see how high the compression goes.
Compare each cylinder to each other and they should be within 10% of each other.

(Bascially, of course follow the instructions with the tester!)

A leakdown test is a little more complicated and requires an air compreessor. Basically you lock the piston while both valves are closed and put in a set amount of air. The leak down tester will indicate how much is leaking out of the cylinder. If you listen to where the air is going, you can sometimes know if it is valve, rings, or something worse.

Googling "compression test" and/or "leak down test" will give a lot better info. Compression is quick and dirty, but leak down tells you the exact condition of the sealing capabilities of the cylinder.

Hope that helped.

97 Lincoln Mark VIII LSC (Chip'd, 3.73 T/L... so far... )
97 Ford Aspire (Slow, but getting 36 mpg (f'n Ethenol!! )
84 F250 Dually w/6.9L Diesel (7.3L IDI pending)
73 Mercury Cougar Convertible w/351C 4V (Partially Restored)
69 F100 LWB w/460 Engine
76 Glastron Carlson 23' Jet Boat w/460 CJ Engine
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-18-2010, 02:43 PM Thread Starter
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Very much. Thanks A mil. I'll do a compression test soon.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-18-2010, 02:45 PM
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No problem. Every shade tree mechanic worth his weight will have at least a compression tester in their tookbox.

97 Lincoln Mark VIII LSC (Chip'd, 3.73 T/L... so far... )
97 Ford Aspire (Slow, but getting 36 mpg (f'n Ethenol!! )
84 F250 Dually w/6.9L Diesel (7.3L IDI pending)
73 Mercury Cougar Convertible w/351C 4V (Partially Restored)
69 F100 LWB w/460 Engine
76 Glastron Carlson 23' Jet Boat w/460 CJ Engine
94 Daily Driven 4.6L is offline  
post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-18-2010, 02:51 PM Thread Starter
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I used to have a full garage of tools at my disposal, but that was my fathers garage. After I had a kid, we never really say eye-to-eye again.
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