Phenolic Intake Manifold Spacer

XR4Ti / Sierra / Sierra Cosworth Discussions - Questions, problem resolution, general talk, technical tips and modifications.
thesameguy
Level 7
Level 7
Posts: 1994
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2005 5:06 pm
Location: Sacramento
Contact:

Re: Phenolic Intake Manifold Spacer

Post by thesameguy » Thu Apr 13, 2017 12:24 am

It's totally your risk to take, and I hope it turns out to be a non-issue. It's a non-issue for me too, because I already had the spacer. :)

User avatar
John Brennan
Level 8
Posts: 11520
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2003 4:19 pm
Location: Scottsdale, AZ "Summer Is Coming"

Re: Phenolic Intake Manifold Spacer

Post by John Brennan » Thu Apr 13, 2017 7:39 am

lowered86 wrote:Have you guys seen the gasket?

Image

It's not a typical paper gasket if that's what you're thinking. The gasket measures .0480" thick and it has a steel core. I'm eliminating water from my lower intake and I'm using this gasket because I can't get my hands on a phenolic spacer. I'm planning a 4500 mile round trip to Carlisle and running this gasket doesn't worry me at all.

Dan
I guess then the question would be, did Ford design this gasket to use with the same head, and as the sole means of sealing off this port? If so, then I would certainly agree.
This is my car, and these are my people!
1989 XR4Ti 5-Speed
2001 BMW Z3 3.0 5-Speed
2015 Fiesta ST 6-Speed
2015 Edge 3.5 V6 Auto/Paddles

dunhamr1
Level 4
Level 4
Posts: 303
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2016 3:00 pm
Location: Fort Worth, TX
Contact:

Re: Phenolic Intake Manifold Spacer

Post by dunhamr1 » Tue Apr 18, 2017 3:55 pm

thesameguy wrote:Yeah, I just wouldn't trust that. It's probably fine, but I don't want to replace one problem with another. If I was going to do something like that, I would place some thin stainless between the gasket and manifold as reinforcement. I've seen people do that on wet carb'd V8 manifolds. Used a similar technique to block the exhaust heated choke port on my Cadillac 429.

But, the point here was equally "phenolic spacer" and "block coolant," and I already owned the spacer. No point in buying more stuff.
Fair enough! Just have seen many folks use the gasket to block off the coolant w/o issues. (I personally still have coolant in the lower intake, just reporting what I've heard.)

Carry on.
-Ryan Dunham
1989 Merkur XR4Ti - nickname: "SheaXR4"
Daily: 2016 VW Golf R "Matti"
E-Street Autocross car: 2001 Mazda Miata
Old daily: 2003 VW Golf MkIV TDI, 200k+ mi

"Racing is Life. Anything else is just waiting." -Steve McQueen

thesameguy
Level 7
Level 7
Posts: 1994
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2005 5:06 pm
Location: Sacramento
Contact:

Re: Phenolic Intake Manifold Spacer

Post by thesameguy » Tue Jan 15, 2019 9:19 pm

I guess I will go ahead and revive this thread...

Last weekend I took a high-speed trip to San Francisco. Traffic Friday evening was moving at a solid 80-85mph, which was nothing compared to traffic Saturday at 3am, when I got PASSED doing 95mph. Fun times!

Trip went fine, but this morning when I drove to work the car choked every time manifold pressure approached 1psi. I took it back home, and found what I think is coolant pooled on the lower intake manifold. It's pouring rain here, but it seems really unlikely that rain water somehow got that far into the engine bay. My thought is that something about this spacer install failed... maybe the spacer, maybe the gasket, I don't know.

That said, the coolant reservoir appeared very full, like it's either not holding pressure or it's being pressurized. So, it could also be a failed head gasket BUT the car runs just fine until boost comes up, so I suspect it's some type of intake leak. I'm thinking that a leak to the outside is compromising cooling system pressure, venting boost to the world, or allowing an exchange of boost & coolant at the lower intake. Surgery is called for - after doing a compression test just to be sure.

So, thanks to dunhamr1 - I'm going to order a pair of those Fel Pro gaskets and either use them with a reinstall of the spacer or in lieu of the spacer. Unless of course my HG is toast. Which I doubt. I hope I doubt. :)

lowered86
Level 3
Level 3
Posts: 284
Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2004 3:32 am
Location: Elko, NV

Re: Phenolic Intake Manifold Spacer

Post by lowered86 » Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:03 pm

Please keep us posted on what you find. Have you run into the exhaust police yet?

Dan

thesameguy
Level 7
Level 7
Posts: 1994
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2005 5:06 pm
Location: Sacramento
Contact:

Re: Phenolic Intake Manifold Spacer

Post by thesameguy » Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:10 am

I'm afraid I'm not following.... ?

cmouta
Level 3
Level 3
Posts: 247
Joined: Wed Mar 05, 2008 5:25 pm
Location: Phoenix, AZ

Re: Phenolic Intake Manifold Spacer

Post by cmouta » Wed Jan 16, 2019 8:56 am

thesameguy wrote:
Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:10 am
I'm afraid I'm not following.... ?
I'm assuming it's in reference to this:
https://jalopnik.com/why-people-are-sud ... 1831620651
Chris
1988 Mono Rosso Red Merkur XR4Ti - Sold!

thesameguy
Level 7
Level 7
Posts: 1994
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2005 5:06 pm
Location: Sacramento
Contact:

Re: Phenolic Intake Manifold Spacer

Post by thesameguy » Wed Jan 16, 2019 11:36 am

Oh, I didn't even realize anybody cared about that. It doesn't change existing standards, just the penalty. As far as I'm concerned, it's a win. Speaking as somewhere who has BTDT, I will take a fine over a fix it ticket any day of the week. Hanging out at the police station waiting for a break and a cop to come inspect your repair is definitely not a great way to spend half your day.

And, really, 95db is REALLY loud. That's nearly race track loud (103db) and louder than most amateur events allow. If you can't stay below 95db on the street you deserve a fine IMHO.

thesameguy
Level 7
Level 7
Posts: 1994
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2005 5:06 pm
Location: Sacramento
Contact:

Re: Phenolic Intake Manifold Spacer

Post by thesameguy » Thu Jan 17, 2019 9:49 pm

Update #1 (in what is sure to be a riveting series!):

Pulled the plugs today - they were all pretty worn, with gaps ranging from .032 to .038. They looked very clean and nicely used, so I regapped to .032 and reinstalled. These are Motorcraft copper plugs, FWIW. I've just never had good results on this car with fancy plugs.

I let the car warm up for about ten minutes. The exhaust looked pretty wet, but it's been raining cats and dogs here so that was inconclusive. The exhaust didn't smell sweet to me, but tbh I don't have a good track record here unless we're talking total failure.

Pulled the plugs again and installed an OTC compression tester. Results were 170psi, 165psi, 168psi, 170psi. This is a ~300k mile motor, with two head gaskets... One at around 100k, one at around 250k. Not Bad.

Reinstalled plugs and fired it up again. The reservoir was STILL super full, so I used the radiator bleeder ( http://forums.merkurclub.net/forum/view ... hp?t=31297 ) and got a TON of air out. So much air that it took about five passes to get it all out. Once the air was out, the reservoir dropped down to normal. So I know it's ingesting air but probably not losing much coolant.

The only other thing I noticed during this operation was a small oil slick from the valve cover breather. More than I would like, but not a criminal amount. I cleaned it up so I can monitor how fast it comes back... assuming of course I get the car back to drivable soon. ;)

My next steps are going to be a cooling system pressure test and an intake system pressure test, and see if I can't squeeze something out of somewhere. :) But, based on the compression test I think I am looking for something external and not internal. The joint between the lower intake manifold and head seems like the best option, but I have nothing conclusive yet.

User avatar
Esteban
Level 7
Level 7
Posts: 1980
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 2:07 am
Location: San Diego

Re: Phenolic Intake Manifold Spacer

Post by Esteban » Fri Jan 18, 2019 8:01 pm

If you'd like a real phenolic intake spacer, i have one for sale. No water passage.

thesameguy
Level 7
Level 7
Posts: 1994
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2005 5:06 pm
Location: Sacramento
Contact:

Re: Phenolic Intake Manifold Spacer

Post by thesameguy » Fri Jan 18, 2019 9:00 pm

That's what's in there now....

User avatar
andyofcolumbusmerkur
Level 4
Level 4
Posts: 326
Joined: Mon Jul 15, 2013 7:58 pm

Re: Phenolic Intake Manifold Spacer

Post by andyofcolumbusmerkur » Sat Jan 19, 2019 10:02 am

So what happened? Don't leave us all in suspense.
You're only as good as the last car you build.

thesameguy
Level 7
Level 7
Posts: 1994
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2005 5:06 pm
Location: Sacramento
Contact:

Re: Phenolic Intake Manifold Spacer

Post by thesameguy » Sat Jan 19, 2019 11:41 am

I dunno... I haven't taken it apart yet!

thesameguy
Level 7
Level 7
Posts: 1994
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2005 5:06 pm
Location: Sacramento
Contact:

Re: Phenolic Intake Manifold Spacer

Post by thesameguy » Tue Jan 22, 2019 12:06 am

Had some time this sunny afternoon so I did the cooling system pressure test. I found two tiny leaks - one at the upper radiator hose and one at the heater control valve. Tightened them up and it held 17psi for a half hour...

Image

So... glad to have found those leaks, and they may explain the air ingestion. But, no leaks at the lower intake manifold so no explanation for the water on it... It's possible the leak only appears when warm I suppose, but now I'm reaching.

I'll do an intake pressure test soon as see what that yields. It'd be weird if the two issues were unrelated and simple problems.... but is anyone ever that lucky?

thesameguy
Level 7
Level 7
Posts: 1994
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2005 5:06 pm
Location: Sacramento
Contact:

Re: Phenolic Intake Manifold Spacer

Post by thesameguy » Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:52 pm

Phase III - Hooked up the intake pressure tester and could not pressurize the intake past 5psi. The leaks from the throttle body butterfly shaft seals were... significant. I had a spare throttle body in the garage, but its seals were WORSE - the rubber had turned to plastic and shattered when I thought about looking at it.

Fortunately some helpful person here had posted about SKF 3970 seals being a replacement option, and I had apparently purchased four of them and zip tied them to the spare TB, so I knew what I had to do.

Lemme tell ya, getting the factory seals out was NO FUN. They are installed upside down (backwards?) so normal tricks like driving a screw into the seal wasn't an option. In the end, I wore a Dremel cut off disc very, very small, notched the seal's body, then used a screwdriver to pry it out. Unfortunately, but as one might imagine, doing so gouged the seal bore. I did better the second time, but still a mark. Fortunately the 3970 seal is about 1mm too big, so I used a tiny sanding drum to smooth out the gouge and take a tiny amount of material out. TINY. It was still a big effort to drive the new seal in, but since the 3970 is coated, I think it will seal just fine. Certainly won't be worse than it was!

That's all prepped and I will install it sometime soon, then get back to the pressure test. I still have my fingers crossed that what I was experiencing was worn plugs and a conicident coolant leak... They're actually getting a little sore.

Post Reply