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Old 05-10-2012, 06:09 PM
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Engine Troubleshooting

Hey all,

I recently picked up a 2000 Prelude with 127k original miles. At the moment it doesn't run and I'm trying to remedy that. From my understanding, the woman who owned it before me was driving and it just 'turned off', she had it towed and it has been sitting since. It's now in my driveway and I'm looking for some guidance.

It turns over, so I did a compression test on it (cold motor) and got poor results. From left to right: 70psi, 65psi, 45psi, 40psi. My suspicion is a blown head gasket, but I wanted to see what the fine people on PZ might come up with.

If anyone feels I have overlooked something stupid or left out a troubleshooting procedure that would be helpful, please let me know.

Thanks for reading!

Last edited by Richk14; 05-19-2012 at 04:40 PM.
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Old 05-10-2012, 06:21 PM
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Re: Engine Troubleshooting

"Just turning off" could've happened if the timing belt snapped, meaning P2V contact, bending the valves, causing little to no compression.
Actually now that I think about it, it should cause NO compression, cause it would all be escaping from the opening. Just to check it, I'd take the valve cover off, put #1cyl to TDC, and see if the cam gears are both lined up. You'll also be checking if the timing belt is in good condition, if there at all.


Just turning off could also be a faulty ignition switch, fuel pump, among other things, but those wouldn't cause low compression.
I'd check to make sure your getting fuel at the fuel rail as well.
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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 05-10-2012, 07:19 PM
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Re: Engine Troubleshooting

Copy that. When i put #1 to TDC, does it matter if its on the compression stroke or not? I'm assuming the best way to find TDC is removing the plug and stick something in the hole that will rise and lower as I turn the crank?

The ignition/fuel end of everything seems to be alright. I'm getting spark and when I did the compression test I could smell the fuel. It would probably behoove me to drain the fuel and get a fresh tank, but I'm not going to blame it's performance or lack thereof on old/bad fuel.
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Old 05-10-2012, 07:29 PM
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Re: Engine Troubleshooting

Does it fire at ALL? ie: Do you get any sputtering or anything when turning it over? If it's got gas, even with low compression you'd get some kind of explosion sound if it has spark. Which begs the next question: Have you tested for spark?

One of the ways to test for a blown head gasket is to drain the oil and watch as it comes out. If it's all black/brown, that's good. If any part of it is green or orange, then you have coolant in your oil and that means a gasket leak. The green/orange should come out first as the oil will sit on the coolant.
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Old 05-10-2012, 08:06 PM
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Re: Engine Troubleshooting

You should've disconnected the main relay when doing the compression test. That's why your numbers decreased like that, it was spraying fuel in the cylinders as you were testing the others. The fuel washes off anything on the walls, and will cause a bad seal (low numbers).
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Old 05-10-2012, 08:40 PM
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Re: Engine Troubleshooting

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richk14 View Post
Copy that. When i put #1 to TDC, does it matter if its on the compression stroke or not? I'm assuming the best way to find TDC is removing the plug and stick something in the hole that will rise and lower as I turn the crank?

The ignition/fuel end of everything seems to be alright. I'm getting spark and when I did the compression test I could smell the fuel. It would probably behoove me to drain the fuel and get a fresh tank, but I'm not going to blame it's performance or lack thereof on old/bad fuel.

Nope doesn't matter if its compression or exhaust stroke, just as long as its @ TDC.
You could do the long screwdriver thru the spark plug hole, as well as lining the cam gears up w/ each other. If the cams and pistons aren't timed correctly, you'll also loose compression.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaxprelude View Post
You should've disconnected the main relay when doing the compression test. That's why your numbers decreased like that, it was spraying fuel in the cylinders as you were testing the others. The fuel washes off anything on the walls, and will cause a bad seal (low numbers).

Not once have I ever disconnected the main relay when doing a compression test, all I ever did was pull the dizzy coil wire. Always got healthy numbers in the 140-150 range.
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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 05-10-2012, 11:47 PM
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Re: Engine Troubleshooting

So, I was brainstorming... I've done some reading on the H22A4's and I've come to the conclusion that their timing belt tensioners are complete trash. What do you boys think the chances of the tensioner failing, and the belt slipping, therefore changing timing and MAAAYBE causing low compression?
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Old 05-11-2012, 09:28 AM
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Re: Engine Troubleshooting

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richk14 View Post
So, I was brainstorming... I've done some reading on the H22A4's and I've come to the conclusion that their timing belt tensioners are complete trash. What do you boys think the chances of the tensioner failing, and the belt slipping, therefore changing timing and MAAAYBE causing low compression?

There's a very very very high chance that that happened since the H22's auto-tensioners are NOTORIOUS for failing, which is why everyone converts to the much much more reliable manual tensioner from an H23.

But I'm still thinking that if the valves were even slightly bent, that you would have zero compression in that cylinder, not just a little. IDK I could be wrong tho.
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2005 Stage2.5+ Subaru WRB STi : RzKar!
Ivey Tuned - Advan - Cobb - Rallispec - CP - Perrin - ACT - KillerB - Carillo - TurboXS - Defi - Innovate - Walbro - DeatschWerks - Feal - H&R - Alpine - Infiniti - Curt

2001 Kawasaki STX1100 D.I. - Sold!
2007 Sea-Doo RXT 215; ET 127 +3 S/C impeller, DIY 3" intake, DIY resonator delete/free flow exhaust, DIY oil catch can, Rule 500gph bilge pump


Quote:
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 05-11-2012, 09:43 AM
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Re: Engine Troubleshooting

Quote:
Originally Posted by twokexlv6coupe View Post
But I'm still thinking that if the valves were even slightly bent, that you would have zero compression in that cylinder, not just a little. IDK I could be wrong tho.
That's what I'm still trying to figure out with mine. 170+ psi compression, but 100% leakage. I'm tearing my head apart this weekend and visually inspecting each valve. I was thinking my headgasket blew between cylinders, but when i took it off, it looked fine, no burning between walls on block nor head.
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Old 05-11-2012, 04:25 PM
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Re: Engine Troubleshooting

I'm not thinking that they're bent as much as I'm leaning towards them being cracked open just a touch, thus causing the low numbers... I'll be tearing it open this weekend.

Jax, look into rings. If you can hear a hiss (the air from the comp test leaking out) from the exhaust pipe or the intake tract, investigate valves/seals. If you have no luck there, try putting your ear up to the crankcase opening (dipstick tube) and listen for a hiss there. If you hear it there, r2 the rings.
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Old 05-13-2012, 01:28 PM
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Re: Engine Troubleshooting

A little update: Yesterday I checked the timing on the 'lude, it seems as though that pesky tensioner failed and the belt hopped about 3 teeth. So i retimed it and did another compression test for ****s n giggles. I got better numbers, every cylinder hopped up about 20psi except #1, which stayed at 40psi. I put a cap full of oil in the cylinders and tried again, and got all 4 up into ~150psi range.

With these results I'm betting on valve seals and/or piston rings. Anyone have any other input as to what it could be?
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Old 05-13-2012, 02:04 PM
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Re: Engine Troubleshooting

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richk14 View Post
A little update: Yesterday I checked the timing on the 'lude, it seems as though that pesky tensioner failed and the belt hopped about 3 teeth. So i retimed it and did another compression test for ****s n giggles. I got better numbers, every cylinder hopped up about 20psi except #1, which stayed at 40psi. I put a cap full of oil in the cylinders and tried again, and got all 4 up into ~150psi range.

With these results I'm betting on valve seals and/or piston rings. Anyone have any other input as to what it could be?
Ouch, definitely something bad happened to the valves. I bet if you pull the head and remove all the valves, you will find a few bent ones. I did! All exhaust valves were bent. But since your compression readings jumped up that high, I bet you have some bad rings too.
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Old 05-14-2012, 09:22 AM
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Re: Engine Troubleshooting

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richk14 View Post
A little update: Yesterday I checked the timing on the 'lude, it seems as though that pesky tensioner failed and the belt hopped about 3 teeth. So i retimed it and did another compression test for ****s n giggles. I got better numbers, every cylinder hopped up about 20psi except #1, which stayed at 40psi. I put a cap full of oil in the cylinders and tried again, and got all 4 up into ~150psi range.

With these results I'm betting on valve seals and/or piston rings. Anyone have any other input as to what it could be?

Yup if compression jumps up with a cap full of oil, your rings are about done. But all hope isn't lost just YET; it may still be driveable, if you absolutely need to since all 4 are around 150psi. You'll just burn alotta oil.

Now that its back in time, I'd try seeing if she runs. If she runs smoothly, I'd replace the t-belts, manual tensioner conversion, and seals, while you start saving for a swap/rebuild.
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2001 Kawasaki STX1100 D.I. - Sold!
2007 Sea-Doo RXT 215; ET 127 +3 S/C impeller, DIY 3" intake, DIY resonator delete/free flow exhaust, DIY oil catch can, Rule 500gph bilge pump


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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 05-14-2012, 06:58 PM
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Re: Engine Troubleshooting

So with the current numbers you think my head gasket/valves are safe? Can we say its rings FOR SURE? As for getting it running, I'm in need of a new distributor.

If I can get my hands on a new dizzy, and crank it up, that'd be amazing.

Last edited by Richk14; 05-19-2012 at 04:38 PM.
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Old 05-15-2012, 12:43 PM
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Re: Engine Troubleshooting

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richk14 View Post
So with the current numbers you think my head gasket/valves are safe? Can we say its rings FOR SURE? As for getting it running, I'm in need of a new distributor, somehow the one I have got covered in....tar?... Or something lol.

If I can get my hands on a new dizzy, and crank it up, that'd be amazing.

That's what it SOUNDS like, don't rely on my word 100% tho. Cuz if your HG was leaking and/or valves were slightly bent, I highly HIGHLY doubt the cylinder would be able to hold 150psi, cuz it would escape outta the leak.

Compression raising after a cap full of oil is indicative of bad rings, since the oil provides a better seal between the rings and cylinder walls. And pouring it down the spark plug hole basically bypasses the valves, so you can almost certainly factor the valves out if the comp raises w/ some oil.
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Ivey Tuned - Advan - Cobb - Rallispec - CP - Perrin - ACT - KillerB - Carillo - TurboXS - Defi - Innovate - Walbro - DeatschWerks - Feal - H&R - Alpine - Infiniti - Curt

2001 Kawasaki STX1100 D.I. - Sold!
2007 Sea-Doo RXT 215; ET 127 +3 S/C impeller, DIY 3" intake, DIY resonator delete/free flow exhaust, DIY oil catch can, Rule 500gph bilge pump


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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 05-19-2012, 12:04 PM
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Re: Engine Troubleshooting

Thanks for the help everyone. I have one last concern. I'd like to get the motor running, without modifying it, just a straight rebuild. I've done some research and (depending on condition of my cylinder walls) concluded that it may be more cost effective to buy a JDM engine (H22A(1) most likely) instead of dealing with the FRM sleeves or re-sleeving steel.

Anyone have any experience with honing/machining FRM or H22A4's in general?
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Old 05-19-2012, 04:28 PM
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Re: Engine Troubleshooting

I pulled the head a little while ago. All the cylinders look pretty good, except for #3 - it's got some vertical scraping. From the looks of it, the valves and pistons are in good shape, the timing or lack thereof doesn't seem to have caused any huge problems on that end of the spectrum.

#1 & 2 valves


#3 & 4 valves


Head


#1 Cylinder


#1 Piston


#2 Cylinder


#3 Cylinder


#2 & 3 Pistons


#4 Cylinder


#4 Piston


Excuse the poor image quality, cell phone camera.

I'm assuming the block is toast given the FRM business.

Last edited by Richk14; 05-19-2012 at 04:37 PM.
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