Dry starting issue? - TCCoA Forums
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-21-2016, 02:32 PM Thread Starter
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Dry starting issue?

I have a 94 XR7 4.6l with around 110,000 miles so far. As of the last year or so I have noticed it has been starting "dry" if it has sat for a few hours. After it fires up, it has that rattle which is indicative of metal on metal with little to no oil between them. I know this is probably oil related as I am a Lube Service and Tire Service Technician at my job, but I'm still new enough that this isn't something I see very often. My questions are: Is this normal for this engine? What is the cause of it and if it can be solved/eliminated, how do I go about doing that? Is it a sign of previous damage that's not easily repairable or a sign of damage soon to come?

As long as we're on issues with abnormal starting conditions, I'll bring up another issue. I have only in the last few months noticed once or twice it will have a "groan" or "howl" when it's in park after it has sat for a few days without being driven, and the car shakes rather harshly. It almost feels like major misfire issues. And when I go to Drive or Reverse in this situation it shakes a little more and I can hear the engine has a "loppy cam" sound that goes with the shakes. Any ideas? Misfires from coils/spark wires/spark plugs? I'd rather not have to get a new car for awhile but am getting worried my car is nearing the end...

Oh, and if anyone knows where a straight and rust free passenger side fender and corner light as well as possibly a bumper cover could be found for a fair price plus shipping...that would be awesome, MN has been fresh out on the parts listings and junkyards for a while yet.
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-21-2016, 03:18 PM
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I used to get that "shake" you are referring to on my '95, but only in one condition: after a very short run time (if the car was started just long enough to rearrange the cars in the driveway). The next time the car was started, didn't matter if it was an hour later or a week later, it would do exactly what you describe, every single time. It would go away after about 3 minutes. Possibly caused by condensation in the combustion chamber that never had a chance to burn off from running the car for 2 minutes.

For whatever reason, after 15 years, it suddenly doesn't do it anymore!

Al

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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-21-2016, 04:27 PM
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Me the guessing man that I am and being the 2 times OEM master certified tech, think it may be the timing chain oil tensioners going bad. That is without hearing it. A lot of 4.6s I have had and have been around over the years sometimes do odd things like that. I wouldn't sweat it until it becomes something super bad.

The sitting thing I wouldnt sweat either. Sounds like its just the beast of having an old car. At 110k your mn12 is far from done. You will only get (hopefully) better as a tech, and be able to handle more complex problems as they arise with your vehicle.

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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-21-2016, 06:33 PM
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What kind of filter are you running?

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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-21-2016, 10:48 PM Thread Starter
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I'm running a Tech Select T500 filter from the shop I work for. I get it for free. I'd run a Purolator but when I get the chance to change my oil it's literally I have 30 minutes on break to do it and that's all the time I'll get for the week. They won't normally let us work on our own vehicles there other then "routine scheduled maintenance". So if we wear out a set of brakes in half the time it should take according to the O.E Maintenance Schedule, they won't let us touch our own car in that building even if we are not working that day. And go figure the town home association for the complex I live in won't let me do anything mechanical at all at home. Something about it looking "unprofessional" they said...I guess you can't fix stupid.
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-22-2016, 10:10 AM
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Well first things first, get that cheapo filter off there and replace it with a motorcraft fl820s. That may fix your problem right there, but if it doesn't, then the problem is with the timing chain guides and tensioners, and at that point you should replace the chains too just because you are in there, but that would be a fairly involved job. If your work won't let you change an oil filter there, and you can't do it at your condo association, then I would suggest finding a business park and doing it in the back of one of the parking lots there on a Sunday, since there will be nobody around to say anything about it.
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-22-2016, 12:32 PM
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I agree, get a good filter on there with the anti-drainback valve and it'll help a lot.

I'm also a big fan of the synthetic 0w oils. I ran 0w20 in my Crown Vic, 0w30 in my 1999 Mustang GT, and 0w30 in my 97 Thunderbird 4.6 and have zero issues. As a matter of fact, on the Crown Vic cold winter starts in -20F Minnesota mornings were never an issue. I would on those days let the car warm up a little before driving, but I didn't get the howl I got out of my work van (a 2007 Caravan) running 5w20 Pennsoil either.

I would get those tensioners checked... the old style are fairly bulletproof, but you don't want the timing to foul up.

Also, I'm a couple hours north of you, you're welcome to come up here to work on things.

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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-25-2016, 02:45 PM Thread Starter
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MadMikeyL and Woodman, I was doing some research on the "cheap" filter I have on my car. I think I have some good news. The Tech Select name is part of the Mighty brand of oil filters. The Mighty "M" series (Tech Select is the "T" series) does use an anti-drain back valve. However, I am not 100% sure if the Tech Select series does. However, I can guarantee it's better than a Fram or any other joking excuse for a cheap oil filter. However, I will be getting a better filter on it as soon as possible. I'm torn between the Motorcraft FL-820S, which is obviously going to work fine with the Motorcraft design for the engine, but the other option I've wanted to try is the Purolator Boss PBL24651 as well. It's $12 though, not that I'm surprised. But I just thought it would be a good idea to start running the Purolator Boss when I can (as I used to run regular Purolators before I worked at a shop with access to free filters), and having a small stock of the Motorcraft filters for when I can't get a Purolator or in case I need one in an emergency.
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-25-2016, 02:51 PM Thread Starter
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AGCO Automotive Repair Service - Baton Rouge, LA - Detailed Auto Topics - Symptoms of Bad Timing Chain, Ford V8 Engines

Looks like you guys were right about the timing chain guides. Under the picture of the cut-away view of the oil filter is a section title in bold font "The Problem of Broken Guides on the Timing Chain". The second darn sentence in that section..."The first symptom is usually a rattle on the start up."

EXACTLY MY ISSUE! I feel like I just hit the jackpot (although it's one that means hard work and $$$ being spent, not made...figures) But it feels good to finally hit the nail so straight on the head it splits the hammer in half.
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-25-2016, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by XR7wrench_monkey View Post
MadMikeyL and Woodman, I was doing some research on the "cheap" filter I have on my car. I think I have some good news. The Tech Select name is part of the Mighty brand of oil filters. The Mighty "M" series (Tech Select is the "T" series) does use an anti-drain back valve. However, I am not 100% sure if the Tech Select series does. However, I can guarantee it's better than a Fram or any other joking excuse for a cheap oil filter. However, I will be getting a better filter on it as soon as possible. I'm torn between the Motorcraft FL-820S, which is obviously going to work fine with the Motorcraft design for the engine, but the other option I've wanted to try is the Purolator Boss PBL24651 as well. It's $12 though, not that I'm surprised. But I just thought it would be a good idea to start running the Purolator Boss when I can (as I used to run regular Purolators before I worked at a shop with access to free filters), and having a small stock of the Motorcraft filters for when I can't get a Purolator or in case I need one in an emergency.
I am all for good filtration, but paying $12 for an oil filter seems ridiculous to me. Every 4.6 I've had to date (previous 97 Thunderbird, 99 Mustang GT, 2002 Crown Victoria, and my current bird) used FL820S with no issues ever with oil contamination. I only switched to the FL-1A because I installed an oil filter relocation kit, and it uses the larger filter.


I agree, your filters are probably better than the Fram el-cheapomatics, and Purolator makes a good filter as well, but for $3 at WalMart, why not stick with what works well? Since you work at a shop and can do your own oil changes, just pick one up the night before, get her up there, change the oil, spin on a Motorcaft filter, and call it done.

And don't stress about the timing chains. It's an involved job, but worth it. Get the good tensioners, and get it replaced. Remove any doubt and save yourself a new set of heads/pistons.

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Last edited by Woodman; 04-25-2016 at 03:45 PM.
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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-25-2016, 03:45 PM
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Purolator makes Motorcraft's filters.

Doing the front timing gear isn't THAT bad, assuming that's the issue (although at only 110k it seems a little awkward unless the motor was abused by a previous owner, or unless someone was in there before and didn't do something right or used junk parts putting it together)... it just takes time because a lot of stuff needs to come off. Give yourself a weekend and go from there.

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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-25-2016, 06:54 PM
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There is more to a filter than whether or not it has an anti-drain back valve. Presumably every filter spec'd for a 4.6 will have one, but that doesn't necessarily mean it works well. All of the cheap quick-lube filters use a rubber valve, while all of the expensive filters (and the motorcraft ones) use one made of silicon. The rubber one will work, but is easier to damage, and more susceptible to heat. I use a Motorcraft FL820S on every 4.6 that comes into my shop, and as was stated, at a whopping $3.XX each, and with how sensitive the mod motors are to poor quality filters, there is no reason to risk engine damage or a comeback or complaint about rattling on startup to save $1.50 per oil change. I have used the Purolator Boss on cars with synthetic oil changes, and it does look to be a good quality filter, but I think it is overkill in your case, especially since at this point, you are only trying to diagnose what the problem is. First thing first is remove that cheap oil filter (no matter how good any marketing has let you to believe it may be) and put a stock Motorcraft FL820S on the car, run it for a minute or so, and then shut it down and re-start the car an hour later to see if the noise is still there. If the noise went away, you just fixed your car for $5. If it doesn't go away, then the $12 filter won't make it go away, and you need to tear into the engine to replace the timing chain and tensioners.

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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-25-2016, 10:22 PM
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I've used a Mobile 1 filter whenever I couldn't find a motorcraft filter at Wally World but that doesn't happen very often.

-Randy-
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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-26-2016, 12:59 AM Thread Starter
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I seem to luck out with finding anything other than Fram filters at Walmart or other big box stores. I have a plethora of auto parts stores around me though, 3 are less than a half mile from my work, and I have 3 more in the same town I live in, plus the entire western Twin Cities area to go to if needed. I'll probably try to stick to the Motorcraft filters when I can though.

In regards to the chain tensioners I'll likely just ask my boss if I can make a deal for a 50% discount on labor if I buy parts through them and they let me assist a tech with the work so I can learn to do them if I ever need to in the future.

Terminator, I will admit I'm not the nicest individual to my car. Granted I'm almost 23, got the car in Sept 2014, and previous owner was the original owner and she used it only to go a total of 6 miles round trip to work and back 3 to 5 days a week in the warmer months. They were an older "snowbird" couple who went south in the winter. But in my case, whenever someone in a lesser or nearly equal car gets next to me at a stop light or on the interstate and they try to act cocky, I put them in their place. Though...the newest issue today was I had to floor it to avoid some doorknob on his phone who was heading right for me instead of staying in his turn lane. I got it to around 4500rpm and immediately after noticed a faint rotten egg smell...cats going bad?
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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-26-2016, 09:37 AM
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If you're going to be having the front end and part of the top end taken apart, that would be a great opportunity to do a PI swap if you can afford it. Many of us here have done this and we know that whenever we go this far into the rabbit hole, it's a good idea to just get this done as well.

I'd also suggest to replace anything that's rubber if you're going this far in as well. Even though the mileage of your car is relatively low for its age, rubber is still susceptible to damage done by time. The other big thing to do here is the oil adapter filter gasket. Again, with the engine torn down this far to replace the tensioners, the oil filter adapter gasket will be easy to get to.
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post #16 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-26-2016, 10:55 AM
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If you're going to be having the front end and part of the top end taken apart, that would be a great opportunity to do a PI swap if you can afford it. Many of us here have done this and we know that whenever we go this far into the rabbit hole, it's a good idea to just get this done as well.

I'd also suggest to replace anything that's rubber if you're going this far in as well. Even though the mileage of your car is relatively low for its age, rubber is still susceptible to damage done by time. The other big thing to do here is the oil adapter filter gasket. Again, with the engine torn down this far to replace the tensioners, the oil filter adapter gasket will be easy to get to.
Amen. I had to replace EVERYTHING rubber, including suspension pieces on the 2002 Crown Vic I inherited in 2011 with 15K on the odometer.

Nothing worse for a car than not being driven.

XR7 Wrench Monkey, pro tip... when flooring it, turn your OD off. The 4r70W doesn't like WOT downshifts from OD to 3rd or 2nd. Damages the band.

Not sure about the rotten egg smell. Don't think you'd smell sulfur in a cat, but I'm not sure.

The Motocraft filters are at Walmart, but usually in a much smaller area, and often on a different shelf than the Fram filters. Once you know where they put them, you'll find them every time. I'm just north of you, cmon up to wrench on it if you like. I have the PI swap on my car, haven't done it myself yet, but we can get it going fairly easily. I've got torque wrenches, plenty of tools, and a garage to put it in along with a good friend who graduates from his mechanic class in two weeks.

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post #17 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-26-2016, 12:48 PM Thread Starter
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Don't worry Woodman, I typically only go to the floor with the O/D off. I found it's a smoother downshift and it will upshift a lot smoother as well. If I can get some time set away this summer, I'll try to head up your way and try to get some of the much needed work done. If you ever run across anyone selling a clean damage free passenger fender, PM me. I can't find one for the life of me.
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post #18 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-26-2016, 04:54 PM
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RockAuto sells FL820s for ~3.50, it's well worth it for the AD valve.

When someone tells me they have startup noise on a mod motor, I ask about the filter; if they won't fix that, it's not very important to them, so it's not really worth my time.

For restoring one back to new:

You replace the All the rubber (all bushings and associated ball joints/control arms/swaybar endlinks, front and rear)
The inner and outer tie rod ends
Shocks front and rear
New tires and a full 4 wheel alignment.

It will drive like a new car. I've done this a few times now.

After getting the Resto stuff done, there are some simple cheap upgrades:
PI swap, various degrees
PBR swap (easy as a brake pad change)
2002 GT inlet/maf upgrade

These are pretty cheap, and can be done from JY parts.

Something to consider is transmission updates; that seems to be my favorite thing to break.

There are tons more updates, but start with the resto work, and you'll be a lot happier.
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post #19 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-26-2016, 05:19 PM
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[...]
After getting the Resto stuff done, there are some simple cheap upgrades:
PI swap, various degrees
PBR swap (easy as a brake pad change)
2002 GT inlet/maf upgrade[...]
The 02 GT MAF is cheap... but you can't run it without a tune. And THAT certainly isn't cheap.
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post #20 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-26-2016, 05:42 PM
No, Mr. Lemmywinks, No!!!

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The 02 GT MAF is cheap... but you can't run it without a tune. And THAT certainly isn't cheap.
I thought it had the same transfer curve, but was more precise.



After a very short search, I'm Wrong.

You're in the thread where we discuss it, lol.

This does require a tune; yet another great reason to get a tune, and make friends with Don Lasota.

This is the second thing I've mis-referenced in the last few weeks, both relating to tuning.
I forget because It's not a problem for me.


SCT sells PRP packages, so you can do your own tuning; nothing breaks like doing it yourself.

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post #21 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-26-2016, 07:28 PM
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While the PRP isn't in the "cheap" category, if you're planning to mod the car in stages/continuously, it'll be cheaper than paying for re-tunes in the long run. Additionally, no one will care as much about absolutely dialing in the tune as you will.

And if you're serious about eliminating "dry starts", all you need is one of these. Again, not necessarily in the "cheap" category.

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post #22 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-12-2016, 10:54 AM Thread Starter
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Ok so I got the correct Motorcraft filter and oil installed. It has solved the problem a little bit, it doesn't have the dry starting after being driven for a bit. But it still rattles at start up in the morning and after sitting for more than 3 or 4 hours. Also, when I give the car some gas while I drive it, especially at speeds around 30 to 50mph, I hear a rattle that's similar to the sound a heat shield would make when it comes loose. But I've gone through all the parts under the car and cant find anything loose that could cause this kind of sound. It doesn't make the sound when I'm in park or when I have it in gear and am revving it with my foot on the brake. Only in Drive when the car is moving. Would this be more likely engine or transmission related?
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post #23 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-12-2016, 10:59 AM
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The rattle while driving is likely a catalytic converter. They have an insulation around the outside of the catalyst brick that holds it in place, and if that gets damaged, or burns off due to running lean or something like that, then the catalyst will rattle around in there at certain rpms and loads. It is likely not related to the rattle on cold startup, and since the Motorcraft filter didn't completely solve that problem, your next step is pulling the front cover off the engine and replacing guides and tensioners.

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post #24 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-15-2016, 06:27 PM
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I just went thru fixing a catalytic heat shield on my 95 4.6 LX. It was difficult to diagnose. The weld failure on one heat shield was not visible. Even tapping them with a hammer barely gave me a hint of the point of failure. The only way I found it was to insert a screw driver blade between the seem and gently twist and tap at the same time. A stainless hose clamp fixed it all up. Drove me nuts for 2 years.
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