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Engine problems: Blown rings?

 
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Old 04-23-2012, 11:03 PM
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Engine problems: Idle sputter

Yes I have done a lot of searching on here and other sites before finally posting a new thread. Car is a 2001 base w/ 92k on it.

Ok we'll go back to when this first started. Roughly 3 1/2 years ago, I did some spirited highway driving on the way home from a friend's house. I did the usual mis-shift from 3rd to 4th and hit the limiter. I just put it in 5th and continued driving on normally the whole way home (a few miles highway, then about 8 miles or so suburb streets [45mph]). Car ran fine the entire way, no red lights, no need to downshift. So I come up on my street, so I have to slow down and press in the clutch. Engine speed falls (like normal), continues to fall and the car dies. I figured the tensioner went out and the belt slipped. I still had to get down the street and home, so I had to start the car back up. It took a few turns before it cranked back up, and seemed rough starting back up. I gave it some gas to try and put tension on the belt (figuring it was the tensioner). Car ran fine in 1st the rest of the way home (neighborhood street), pulled in the driveway, press in clutch, and car dies again.

So it has now sat in the same place for 3 1/2 years. I am just now getting around to attempting to fix it, with the love and help of my fiance. I have replaced all fluids, brakes, timing belt, balance shaft belt, seals, valve cover gasket (including spark plug seals, etc), water pump, new radiator, oem fuel filter, h23 manual tensioner kit, valve adjustment, clutch master and slave cylinders, plugs, battery, cleaned grounding surfaces, seafoamed (before new plugs), cleaned FITV, IACV, and EGR, bled the coolant system, cleaned TB. I did not replace distributor cap & rotor, they were basically new at the time the car stopped running. I inspected them and they looked ok (no corrosion or rust). The wires also ohmed out fine. Fresh 93 octant was put in the fuel tank, as well as fuel treatment.

So now comes the time to crank her up for the first time in 3 1/2 years. Turn the key, cranks right up like a champ. It idles fine for a minute until it starts to warm up, then starts to get a little rough. It feels like the engine is misfiring. Soon afterwards, the CEL comes up. I run the codes, P0300, P0301, P0302, P0304, P1399. Random misfires and the dreaded "Powertrain" code. Its been a month or so since this first fire-up. It has started and died a few times since, mostly diagnosing. I recently was able to run compression and leak down tests. Here are the results:

Compression test (after 6 cranks each, warmish engine, WOT):
Cyl 1 - 178 dry, 197 wet
Cyl 2 - 196 dry, 209 wet
Cyl 3 - 185 dry, 200 wet
Cyl 4 - 175 dry, 185 wet

I used only about 1/2 a capful of oil in each cylinder.

Leak down test:
Cyl 1 - 15% leak on cold motor last week, 64% leak on warm engine today. I can hear air leaking through dipstick tube & crank case filler cap, as well as cylinders 3 & 4.
Cyl 2 - 97% leak on warm motor. I can hear air leaking from cylinders 3 and 4.
Cyl 3 - 100% leak on warm motor. I can hear air leaking from cylinders 1 and 2.
Cyl 4 - 100% leak on warm motor. I can hear air leaking from cylinder 1.

I DO NOT hear any air leaking from intake or exhaust. I also do not have any air bubbles coming up in the radiator cap. I only hear air coming from the dipstick/crank case on cylinder 1. In order to hear the air leaking from the other cylinders (as in being able to hear the air from cylinders 3 and 4 while testing 1), you have to put your ear up to the spark plug hole. Is it possible for the head gasket to leak in between cylinders and NOT affect any coolant passages? Will the head gasket only leak on a warm/running engine? Coolant is clean, no sign of oil in it. Also I do not notice any water/coolant in the oil. I do not see any smoke coming out of the exhaust while it is running. All fluids were still full after sitting for 3 1/2 years.

Having been run for possibly a total of 25 minutes over the past month, the new plugs on cylinders 3 and 4 are completely fouled. They are completely black (dry, not wet) and they do not smell of burnt oil or fuel. The plugs in cylinders 1 and 2 are fine, no fouling.

Sorry for writing a novel, just want to pinpoint exactly what is going on. I cannot find definative answers from all my searches, since most people with problems have 0 compression in a cylinder, or 50-100psi difference. What are you guys' thoughts? Rings? Valves and/or valve seals? Possible burnt valves? Head gasket? I do not have thousands of dollars to throw at it, so I value any intelligent answers/opinions. I have spent countless hours working on this car to keep it in a pristine state. I would hate to have it's death on my hands.

Thanks in advance for taking the time to read!

I also should mention that the timing belt was still ok when it was removed. It had not snapped or skipped a tooth.

Last edited by jaxprelude; 06-19-2012 at 11:19 PM.
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Old 04-24-2012, 11:35 AM
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Re: Engine problems: Blown rings?

What do those codes correspond with? Also your compression test looks decent. Has the engine ever overheated even slightly? What is your oil pressure look like on start up? Try to plug a oil pressure valve in the sending unit so you can get a firm number on that just because its the heartbeat of the engine. Without knowing what those codes stand for I still feel like im shooting in the dark trying to diagnose.
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Old 04-24-2012, 12:03 PM
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Re: Engine problems: Blown rings?

P0300 is random misfire, P0301, 2, 3, 4 are misfires in respected cylinders. The P1399 is a pending "Powertrain" fault code, and could represent tons of different things. The car has never overheated. When idling after repairs it never goes above slightly under halfway, or about 175 degrees. How would I go about plugging a valve in the sending unit? Is that a safe way to approach testing it?
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Old 04-24-2012, 05:31 PM
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Re: Engine problems: Blown rings?

I have a 3rd gen and you need a metric pipe nipple to screw into where the sending unit goes then a coupling into a hose with a valve on the end. I'm not going to lie it was a bitch to do on the 3rd gen and i am very unfamiliar with 5th gens and how they are set up. I just refused to drive it without knowing that my oil pump was doing what it was supposed to. The misfire's in the cylinders would have to be timing between fuel and spark. When you push the clutch in it drops then dies right? I had the same problem with my 3rd gen when i was done with the engine rebuild. What fixed it was twisting the dizzy until the timing was advanced far enough to keep the rpm's around 900 at idle. Honda reccomends 850 on the 3rd gen's. Powertrain fault code doesn't really tell much it could just do that because of the misfires or it could be transmission problems but i doubt the latter. I would say that the code being pending means it would go away if you could get the misfires under control. Hope i have helped feel free to keep asking questions. I have found that questions being answered by someone who is not wrapped up in the job are usually helpful.
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Old 04-24-2012, 10:38 PM
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Re: Engine problems: Blown rings?

The last time I drove it, yes when I pressed in the clutch the car died. I haven't driven the car yet since it is not even running correctly. So as of right now, pressing in the clutch does nothing to the engine speed. Is "twisting" the distributor even a safe thing to do? I know there is no way to alter timing electronically. Would the mis-shift cause the cam to shift the distributor any? I did notice that with each cylinder at TDC, I believe the rotor was just about to pass the electrode on the cap (if that makes sense). I don't know if that would have anything to do with any sort of spark timing. The CELs are indicating that there are misfires in all cylinders, however 3 & 4 are the only cylinders with fouled plugs.

On a side note, how would all of this tie in with the leak down results?
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Old 04-24-2012, 11:07 PM
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Re: Engine problems: Blown rings?

is it still the same gas in it from 3 1/2 years ago ?? if you car is misfiring you cant trust the comp test results gas washes the oil off the walls and can cause the rings not to seal properly .. if it is in fact the same gas .. first thing id do is drain the tank / filters and start again with fresh plugs ...

Last edited by element600rr; 04-24-2012 at 11:10 PM.
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Old 04-24-2012, 11:26 PM
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Re: Engine problems: Blown rings?

I did not remove all the gas (there was about a 1/4-1/5 tank of gas sitting in there for the entire time). I put fresh gas in with it (approx. 5 gallons) as well as stabilizer to remove any water. This weekend I will open up the tank/pump access hole and drain out as much fuel as I can and replace it with fresh fuel. I will also pick up new plugs. But with doing that, what would have initially caused the car to die years ago? If that problem was never addressed, I have a feeling doing all this will not make much of a difference.

What are the symptoms of bent valves, other than lack of compression and the car failing to run? What would the difference be between bent and burnt valves (performace-wise)?
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Old 04-25-2012, 02:37 PM
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Re: Engine problems: Blown rings?

Even a slightly bent valve wil cause almost no compression
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Old 04-25-2012, 06:22 PM
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Re: Engine problems: Blown rings?

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Originally Posted by element600rr View Post
is it still the same gas in it from 3 1/2 years ago ?? if you car is misfiring you cant trust the comp test results gas washes the oil off the walls and can cause the rings not to seal properly .. if it is in fact the same gas .. first thing id do is drain the tank / filters and start again with fresh plugs ...
If the rings weren't seating properly, wouldn't it give essentially the same compression results as a bent valve, or at least significantly lower than what I am getting.
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Old 04-25-2012, 07:00 PM
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Re: Engine problems: Blown rings?

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Originally Posted by jaxprelude View Post
If the rings weren't seating properly, wouldn't it give essentially the same compression results as a bent valve, or at least significantly lower than what I am getting.
basically from the fuel not burning you can wash the cyc walls down it will cause off compression readings .. not uniform just not what they should be .. one easy way to tell is to pull the dipstick and smell it .. if it smells like gas then you washed the walls down .. you could have had an issue you fixed but you cant tell because the gas was bad .. i let my old prelude sit for 6 months before the swap and the gas was so bad the car wouldnt start .. we had to drain the tank and put in fresh gas to get it to start .. i ruined a set of 25 dollar a piece plugs and that was from only 6 months of sitting not 3 years .. fresh gas , new plugs and try again .. if your still having issues let me know and ill help you figure it out ..
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Old 04-25-2012, 07:02 PM
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Re: Engine problems: Blown rings?

also an even slightly bent valve will cause damn near no compression at all .. if the belt wasnt broke just off a tooth or 2 you would have more than likely bent intake valves ( they have more lift ) and it would be backfiring through the intake ..
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Old 04-25-2012, 07:21 PM
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Re: Engine problems: Blown rings?

Well the car starts right up every time. I can hear the sputtering in the exhaust, the intake sounds fine. The engine shakes pretty good too, only when idling. If I give it just a little bit of gas and bring the engine speed above, say, 1500 rpm, everything seems fine, very smooth, no misfires, no shaking, no visible smoke. Let off the gas, engine speed drops and it begins misfiring again, if it doesn't stall out. But I will empty the tank this weekend, put in maybe 3-4 gallons with a full bottle of fuel objectors cleaner, put in new plugs and cap and rotor. That should eliminate fuel and spark from the equation, unless its the distributor. I figured if it was a spark issue, it would misfire when giving it a little gas too.
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Old 04-25-2012, 07:33 PM
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Re: Engine problems: Blown rings?

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Originally Posted by jaxprelude View Post
Well the car starts right up every time. I can hear the sputtering in the exhaust, the intake sounds fine. The engine shakes pretty good too, only when idling. If I give it just a little bit of gas and bring the engine speed above, say, 1500 rpm, everything seems fine, very smooth, no misfires, no shaking, no visible smoke. Let off the gas, engine speed drops and it begins misfiring again, if it doesn't stall out. But I will empty the tank this weekend, put in maybe 3-4 gallons with a full bottle of fuel objectors cleaner, put in new plugs and cap and rotor. That should eliminate fuel and spark from the equation, unless its the distributor. I figured if it was a spark issue, it would misfire when giving it a little gas too.
I would recheck the timing again too, could be off just a tooth.
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Old 04-25-2012, 07:59 PM
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Re: Engine problems: Blown rings?

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I would recheck the timing again too, could be off just a tooth.
At first it was, so I had to redo the timing. The intake cam was one tooth advanced, so I figured that was the cause. Refitted the belt to fix the timing (i have checked about 3 times now after have run the car for a few minutes too, timing is still on), and it is still idling the same.
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Old 04-26-2012, 11:53 PM
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Re: Engine problems: Blown rings?



Here is an image of the plugs. They are in order with respect to the cylinders: 4-3-2-1. As you can see, 3 and 4 are fouled to all hell. 2 and 1 are fine. It didn't really smell of oil or fuel though, and were completely dry when I pulled them out (within 5-10 minutes of turned off engine).
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Old 04-27-2012, 12:32 AM
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Re: Engine problems: Blown rings?

you answered your own question, you have bent valves. a cam being even just ONE tooth off, will cause you to bend some valves. take your head to a machine shop check it out, they will be able to determine which valves are bent and replace them.
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Old 04-27-2012, 07:32 AM
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Re: Engine problems: Blown rings?

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you answered your own question, you have bent valves. a cam being even just ONE tooth off, will cause you to bend some valves. take your head to a machine shop check it out, they will be able to determine which valves are bent and replace them.
Then how do those cylinders have that high of compression?
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Old 05-03-2012, 12:53 AM
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Re: Engine problems: Blown rings?

You dont have bent valves if your compression is that good trust me but maybe burnt valves. Bad (dry) rings or (starting to go bad) would be more in the 30% range loss. stock is like 190ish so would prob be aorund 130 to 140 psi range if they went bad. But it would prob smoke out the back sooner or later. my 95 ACURA LEGEND found out the hard way! Check out the sensors on the crank down under behind the crank pulley. make sure that key is in all the way to hold everything in spot for the timing crank gears and back plate for the CRANK sensors. im going back in to check mine and clean all that up again. I did the H23 timing tensioner kit as well a few months back.

Burnt valves (usaly) stay in one cylinder.
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Old 05-03-2012, 01:09 AM
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Re: Engine problems: Blown rings?

CHECK VALVE LASH FIRST BEFORE DOING THIS!!!
if you realy think they might be bent pull the int-ex manifolds off, plugs out . get a bright flash light on the plug hole and look in the ports at the valves and see if you can see any light when they should be closed. get a friend to turn it over by hand while you look and do this at night for better results. if you see the light well then there prob bent if your timing is correct. Sounds ghetto but it works.
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Old 05-03-2012, 01:18 AM
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Re: Engine problems: Blown rings?

Well I know there is a problem in either the top or bottom end. The head is probably coming off this weekend, and I will know then. Valves have been adjusted, checked, and rechecked multiple times (well, adjusted once, and checked a couple times afterwards). Something happened years ago to cause it to die, and I feel like I haven't addressed that root cause yet.
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Old 05-03-2012, 01:30 PM
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Re: Engine problems: Blown rings?

Ring lands are nown to blow out on the pistons. Never seen it in person but i hear its a common factor. if you pull the head might as well do new rings and check those pistons for cracks. atleast youll know its all good in there.
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Old 05-03-2012, 02:52 PM
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Re: Engine problems: Blown rings?

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Ring lands are nown to blow out on the pistons. Never seen it in person but i hear its a common factor. if you pull the head might as well do new rings and check those pistons for cracks. atleast youll know its all good in there.
Yes, its common on our cars, especially if you boost. I'm hoping its just top end so I don't have to deal with the pistons. I don't want to have to pull the engine and drop the crank. You have to remove the crank and hammer the pistons out, correct? They don't just slide out the top. I just don't have the money to put into it like I would like. I've already spent over $700 as it sits right now.
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Old 05-03-2012, 04:40 PM
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Re: Engine problems: Blown rings?

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Originally Posted by jaxprelude View Post
Yes, its common on our cars, especially if you boost. I'm hoping its just top end so I don't have to deal with the pistons. I don't want to have to pull the engine and drop the crank. You have to remove the crank and hammer the pistons out, correct? They don't just slide out the top. I just don't have the money to put into it like I would like. I've already spent over $700 as it sits right now.
Yes you can remove the pistons from the top with the block still in the car. I did it with mine.
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Old 05-03-2012, 07:17 PM
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Re: Engine problems: Blown rings?

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Yes you can remove the pistons from the top with the block still in the car. I did it with mine.
How do you go about pulling them from the top?
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Old 05-03-2012, 07:41 PM
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Re: Engine problems: Blown rings?

Since the cylinder head will be off, all you have to do is remove the oil pan, & main bearing bridge to get to the rod bearings.
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Old 05-04-2012, 04:13 PM
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Re: Engine problems: Blown rings?

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Since the cylinder head will be off, all you have to do is remove the oil pan, & main bearing bridge to get to the rod bearings.
I don't see that working out too well from under the car in the driveway. VERY limited space to work like that.
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Old 05-07-2012, 11:55 AM
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Re: Engine problems: Blown rings?

Well if the weather cooperates this afternoon, I will be pulling the head after work. I'll be sure and report back to see what we have going on!
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Old 05-07-2012, 01:04 PM
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Re: Engine problems: Blown rings?

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Originally Posted by natt2000 View Post
you answered your own question, you have bent valves. a cam being even just ONE tooth off, will cause you to bend some valves. take your head to a machine shop check it out, they will be able to determine which valves are bent and replace them.

Lies. First time I did a t-belt job, it was off by 1-2 teeth.
Redid it, engine ran like a champ for the next ~3yrs.



Let us know what you find when you take the head off, you should be able to see what the problem is.
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Originally Posted by Brash View Post
But you need that scoop on the hood. Is it true that they're big enough to fit your lunch box and all your camera gear in it?
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Old 05-07-2012, 01:27 PM
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Re: Engine problems: Blown rings?

Quote:
Originally Posted by twokexlv6coupe View Post
Lies. First time I did a t-belt job, it was off by 1-2 teeth.
Redid it, engine ran like a champ for the next ~3yrs.



Let us know what you find when you take the head off, you should be able to see what the problem is.
I'm hoping its something as simple as a blown head gasket. It could have blown between cylinders, since my coolant and oil are not mixing, and I was hearing air leakage between cylinders on the leak down.
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Old 05-09-2012, 05:56 PM
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Re: Engine problems: Blown rings?

Got the head off yesterday after work. Weather was cooperative with me. Head gasket looked fine, valves looked dirty (probably normal), pistons looked about the same. Cylinder walls on 2 and 3 looked really good. Didn't see any hot spots on anything, or where something may have burned. This weekend I will start taking the head apart and inspecting each valve for straightness, as well as cleaning them up. Is there a good and bad way to clean the valve face?

I will try and get pics up as soon as possible. Was getting dark yesterday by the time I finished and I didn't have a chance today.
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5th gen, blown, compression, rings, valves


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