End of the rope with my '88

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toffeepeanuts
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Re: End of the rope with my '88

Post by toffeepeanuts »

andyofcolumbusmerkur wrote: Fri Aug 27, 2021 5:41 pm
toffeepeanuts wrote: Wed Aug 11, 2021 12:38 am Its now been over a month since my '88 XR decided to kick the bucket on the highway. On that day, it ran completely fine ALL DAY with no hiccups whatsoever. When it died, it ran fine and then all of a sudden I lost power and the engine sounded different. Fast forward to now, it is still dead and I have genuinely no idea what to do now.

Currently, the engine will run, albeit VERY poorly, and it smells heavily of gasoline.

YES, I've verified cam timing is set to spec at TDC (it is)
YES, I've verified distributor timing is set to spec (it is)
YES, I'm getting 40 psi of fuel to the rail and injectors
YES, I have spark on all 4 cylinders
YES, the TFI module, ignition coil, and wires are all finThe only thing I haven't been able to verify is compression. Why? Because the compression tester I have doesn't fit for no reason other than to piss me off even further. Knowing my luck, that's exactly where my problem lies and I can't even test it to find out.

Please someone help me before I push this thing off a cliff with me in it
Give us some more info. You are saying it ran fine all day. So then all of a sudden (when hot and on highway) something happened and it sounded weird? Like a miss? Or like something internal broke like a valve spring? The computer scan is a good first step, but you still need to do some detective work on a car this old. I have not heard of the diaphragm on the fuel rail going bad, maybe this happened to Ed, and that would certainly cause some problems. Does the dipstick smell like gas? I have heard of these engines "jumping time" but haven't had that happen to me. So take off the timing belt cover and start the whole process like you were installing a new belt. Why are you worried the engine has low compression? Do you think it overheated and the head or head gasket is bad? How did you verify you are getting spark? If I pushed on the schrader valve and fuel pressure looked fine then I would be thinking spark. If you lived closer I would let you swap out the dizzy with one I knew was good.
Yes, it started sounding funny like a miss. There were no bangs or sounds like something physically broke. The dipstick does not smell of gas. I've already checked the timing belt is lined up as it should be. I wanted to check compression, because why not, you need it to run. I still haven't been able to find any testers or adapters or anything that would actually fit. Spark was verified by having the plug in the wire and grounded on the exhaust. I have a video of all 4 spark plugs arcing while the starter spins.

my8950 wrote: Fri Aug 27, 2021 5:57 pm Poof....
He gone, like a fart in the wind.
Most every other part of my life is currently crumbling to pieces so I haven't had the time to check here and I stopped getting email notifications for some reason.
my8950
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Re: End of the rope with my '88

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toffeepeanuts wrote: Sat Sep 11, 2021 3:14 am Most every other part of my life is currently crumbling to pieces so I haven't had the time to check here and I stopped getting email notifications for some reason.
The car is at the bottom of the list when life priorities come into place, take care of what is important...Problems will be there when you have time to get to them.
toffeepeanuts
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Re: End of the rope with my '88

Post by toffeepeanuts »

I messed with it a little more tonight with some buddies of mine. Its currently running, but very poorly and still has no power. My AFR gauge is reading about 15.0-15.3 at idle when warm and for some reason it leans out to about 17.0 when you give it throttle. Also worth noting, there is a whistling that can be heard at idle. I'm sure that's probably just the turbo though (I've never owned a turbocharged car before this).

At the very least I got it out of the street in front of my house where it was unceremoniously dumped by the tow truck, and back into my driveway :D
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Re: End of the rope with my '88

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toffeepeanuts wrote: Wed Sep 15, 2021 2:40 am I messed with it a little more tonight with some buddies of mine. Its currently running, but very poorly and still has no power. My AFR gauge is reading about 15.0-15.3 at idle when warm and for some reason it leans out to about 17.0 when you give it throttle. Also worth noting, there is a whistling that can be heard at idle. I'm sure that's probably just the turbo though (I've never owned a turbocharged car before this).

At the very least I got it out of the street in front of my house where it was unceremoniously dumped by the tow truck, and back into my driveway :D
To me, this sounds like a possible vacuum leak. 15 at idle may not be too bad, but leaning out like that is definitely going to be a problem for making enough power to move itself.
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Re: End of the rope with my '88

Post by Ed Lijewski »

You didn't say if you checked the EGR itself for possible source of a leak.

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toffeepeanuts
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Re: End of the rope with my '88

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So, an update. I'm an idiot and could have saved myself a lot of time, headache, and heartache by just doing a compression test at the very start.

Anyways, it was running poorly because it has 0 compression on cylinders 1 & 2. Pulled the head today, surprise surprise. Image

So yeah, that'll do it.
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Re: End of the rope with my '88

Post by john keefe »

Proof that these 2.3L's are pretty darn stout... That kinda' blow out took a while and a lot of revs to work through two metal rings and make a gap that large, and yet it still ran well. No damage to the head or deck? How're the cylinder walls' looking now?
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Re: End of the rope with my '88

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toffeepeanuts wrote: Sun Oct 03, 2021 5:05 am So, an update. I'm an idiot and could have saved myself a lot of time, headache, and heartache by just doing a compression test at the very start.
Anyways, it was running poorly because it has 0 compression on cylinders 1 & 2. Pulled the head today, surprise surprise.
So yeah, that'll do it.
There you go...Slow and steady wins the race I heard a lady tell her 2yr old yesterday.
Yes you could have done this up front, but you didn't...Instead you learned of numerous other things that could also be a problem with the car. Now next time you'll have some ideas on where to start and what things you can troubleshoot to find your issue.
Good that you found something, now hopefully you can get it all put together and ready to go over winter so once the weather breaks you can be out and about tracking down the next issue. :thumb
toffeepeanuts
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Re: End of the rope with my '88

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john keefe wrote: Sun Oct 03, 2021 12:33 pm Proof that these 2.3L's are pretty darn stout... That kinda' blow out took a while and a lot of revs to work through two metal rings and make a gap that large, and yet it still ran well. No damage to the head or deck? How're the cylinder walls' looking now?
Yeah, it looks fairly decent for a 30 year old engine with ~120k miles. I noticed the valves on #3 and 4 were lighter colored than #1 and 2 (which had the break in the HG). Not sure what thats about. Image

Its since been put back together. I've had it around the block a couple times, gotta work out a few kinks before I can really hit the road again. For example, one of the T bolt clamps holding together my intercooler piping snapped way earlier in this whole saga so its been """""held on"""""" with zipties. First time I even thought about hitting boost it popped right off and I had to limp it home with a massive intake leak lmao.
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andyofcolumbusmerkur
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Re: End of the rope with my '88

Post by andyofcolumbusmerkur »

Are you going to heat cycle it a few times and then re-torque the head? :D
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toffeepeanuts
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Re: End of the rope with my '88

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andyofcolumbusmerkur wrote: Sat Oct 09, 2021 7:17 pm Are you going to heat cycle it a few times and then re-torque the head? :D
If thats what I should do, then sure why not. I've had it up to temp a few times, running coolant flush because a lot of my coolant passages had some hard buildup.
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Re: End of the rope with my '88

Post by merkurdriver »

toffeepeanuts wrote: Sat Oct 09, 2021 8:16 pm
andyofcolumbusmerkur wrote: Sat Oct 09, 2021 7:17 pm Are you going to heat cycle it a few times and then re-torque the head? :D
If thats what I should do, then sure why not. I've had it up to temp a few times, running coolant flush because a lot of my coolant passages had some hard buildup.
( x 2 ) I always follow the bolt tightening sequence in the shop manual exactly, let it idle for a long time and let the fan kick on and off...
Then when it cools down pull the valve cover and hit the torque sequence one more time.
( re using the stock 12pt. head bolts and steering clear of the replacement TTY stretchy 6pt bolts )
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Re: End of the rope with my '88

Post by my8950 »

toffeepeanuts wrote: Sat Oct 09, 2021 3:40 pm Yeah, it looks fairly decent for a 30 year old engine with ~120k miles. I noticed the valves on #3 and 4 were lighter colored than #1 and 2 (which had the break in the HG). Not sure what thats about.
Coolant steam cleaning the valves...

Apologies for my crappy attempt to edit the quote. :)
toffeepeanuts
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Re: End of the rope with my '88

Post by toffeepeanuts »

Is the re-torqueing of the head bolts something we've discovered as beneficial over the years? I'm not seeing any mention of it being required in the factory service manual.

Not that I won't still be doing it, just curious.

I've driven it around a bunch already, running some coolant flush through the system to hopefully break down the mineral buildup I found in the head and coolant pipes. Runs pretty well, but I might have broken something related to the cooling fans. If I get stuck in traffic or at lights the temps start climbing pretty quick. I can't hear either one of my electric fans running (I have the stock one up front and what looks like an aftermarket one on the inside). Not even turning on the AC switch makes them come on. It holds between 180 and 190 f otherwise while driving.
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Re: End of the rope with my '88

Post by Ed Lijewski »

Did you reconnect the coolant temp fan switch under the lower intake?

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