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Blackie_No1

Mk2 2.0 Zetec Engine Woes?

26 posts in this topic

Do these engines use a hydraulic tappet system? Think I have a sticking tappet which is causing my misfire

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I've just found out that the '98 on models used the Zetec-R engine which used conventional shim-type tappets in place of the hydraulic tappets used on the Zetec-E engines as used on the '93-'98 models

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Further to the above it seems my car was built in '98 and registered '99 so my car has the Zetec-E engine with the hydraulic tappets.

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What is the symptom that you are getting, and when does it happen?

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Ticking noise from top of engine, No.3 cylinder misfire on and off, lack of power until at about 5k revs, then it's like a turbo kicks in, then as long as you push the engine hard between hear changes the power is still there.

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Could also be a high voltage breakdown, so have a look at the underbonnet area in a pitch black condition (as you'll see if the leads are breaking down) and could also be the coil pack.

If it genuinely is a sticking tappet, then it gets messier. You seem to be saying stuff is wrong at low rpm and it is ok at high rpm (is it really the case that the ticking noise goes when the power kicks in - you don't say).

This would be the case if oil pressure took a long time to come up, and that could be bad oil, or, maybe your engine is junk (if the oil pressure doesn't come up fully 'till ~5000 rpm, the big ends are probably history - it could also be that the valves have not been returning to their seats, leading to one or more valves or their seats burning out - this would lead to a lack of power at low rpm, but would at least be the kind of thing that could be cured for a reasonable cost and a fair amount of sweat - it would also lead to a loss of fuel economy, as would anything where the valves don't seat correctly).

Given that some of the things that it could be are quite serious, you might want to ensure that you've got good fresh oil and maybe even a can of the 'hydraulic tappet' additive from Wynns. This kind of engine surgery is quite a pain, and you don't want to indulge in it unless you are certain and there is no alternative.

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The ticking doesn't go away at high revs, and today it didn't come onto all four cylinders at high revs :(

It only looses cylinder no.3, oh and I've fitted a new coil pack, leads and plugs!!

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Well, it does now sound like grit in one of the hydraulic lifters, presuming that the work on the coil pack leads and plugs has eliminated the possibility of a problem there.

When was the last oil change, what oil was used and did it change at all then? In any case, nice clean new oil is worth trying, but if oil and maybe oil additives doesn't work, it will probably be 'off with its head'.

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Don't know when the oil was last changed, looks fairly black, admittedly it was just below the low mark on the dipstick when I brought her home (I've only had it a few days, got it cheap cos I was cocky and was sure it was the coil pack) and I topped it up with all I had in the shed, which was 10w/40, which I know is too thick, but as I say I got it cheap because it was doing this and I was cocky thinking I could fix it on the cheap :(

First on the agenda today is as you advise is an oil change for the correct 5w/30, with an oil flush first and the valve additive also

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...looks fairly black...

If you don't know the history (presumably, whatever paperwork doesn't detail the last service, or what oil was used), then you need to get the oil changed.

...admittedly it was just below the low mark on the dipstick when I brought her home (I've only had it a few days, got it cheap cos I was cocky and was sure it was the coil pack) and I topped it up with all I had in the shed, which was 10w/40, which I know is too thick...

I would definitely say don't use 10w/40. I've topped up a v6 with 5w/40 (and that's a viscosity allowed, as a top up, in the manual) and that was too thick, cold. Now, 5w is the same nominal cold viscosity as standard, but the tappets still pumped up and the car wouldn't start in colder weather (to be fair, it did look thicker at ambient temperature, but the manual did suggest it would be ok, but it wasn't, and I wasn't using as much as you would have used).

Now, in that case, once you had got it started, even for a minute or two, it was ok, because that thinned the oil enough, but winter starting could be a real pig.

The right oil isn't that expensive; Halfords had an offer on their 4 litre packs recently (not sure if that's now gone totally, or perhaps my local has just run out of stock); someone like this lot should have a Ford-spec oil reasonably cheaply (there are places that have ford-branded oil cheaply, but you'll need a search for that, because i can't remember who; also, even someone like Asda have a fully synth oil quite cheaply).

My only questions are:

  • are you going to change the oil once or twice: if you were going for twice, to flush it, you'd probably go for the cheapest stuff you could find that met the spec for the first change
  • what about the 'lifters' stuff; I'd try just the oil first, but if you were in a hurry to get it going, you might try throwing everything at it

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I've just thrown everything at it, flushed the oil, replaced it and filter using 5w/30, and then added the lifter stuff and still the same, I really think it's head off time :(

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Just need to clarify - when I said off with its head, I was being a bit flippant, in that you may be able to do what you want by removing the cam cover. And when you look inside, it could be a collapsed follower, it could be a badly damaged cam lobe or it could be a knackered valve guide, or even a spring with a dropped coil - you won't know until you have a look.

If you want, you can probably locate the problem a bit more accurately before you take the cam cover off with the old 'screwdriver stethoscope' trick. using the big plastic handle against your ear, by trying the business end of the screwdriver against various positions on the cam cover, you can probably narrow down the location down to the cylinder and whether it is an inlet or an exhaust valve that is at issue. If the cam cover is coming off anyway, maybe this is of limited use, but it can confirm what you think is going on.

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I forgot about that stethoscope model!! Lol, it's been 18yrs since I've seen it in action lol.

Yea will give that a go today, if not then yea lift the cam cover off

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Cam cover off, seen the two lifters on the exhaust side of cylinder 3, we're not touching the cam, pumped the up and down for a while until they were touching the cam, ran on all four cylinders for a while, took it a run and then it dropped no.3 cylinder again :(

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OK, at least we are somewhat clear what we are dealing with now. There are still two possibilities though:

What you describe is classic 'tappet collapse' (it could have been 'pump up', but this is the opposite). normally you'd expect that the hydraulic lifters had worn, and oil was just passing through them so fast that they would just 'deflate' as soon as they came under pressure. The alternative -usually, less likely- explanation is that one of the oilways has got clogged, and there is no oil supply to the tappets.

Now, as these are two tappets together, there is a distinct possibility that there is one oilway that feeds the two tappets and if that is clogged, then that is one explanation for the two problems, and that might be more likely than two completely separate problems. OTOH, if there is no oil feed to the two tappets, maybe that causes the two tappets to fail, and there is still one root cause.

Did it look as if oil was seeping around the tappets (ie, there was an oil supply behind the tappets)?

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Not sure what you mean by oil seeping behind tappets, but perhaps a pic might help?

This is what I see when looking at the exhaust cam @ no.3 cyl

post-27636-1408903782_thumb.jpg

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No, sorry, that didn't help me. On some engines, you can see the hydraulic follower part quite clearly, and in that case if there is oil pressure behind the follower part some of the oil escapes around the edge of the follower. At least from the angle of the photo I can't see anything, either way.

So, right now, i'd say that we are guessing whether the problem is that there is no oil pressure at the tappet or where there is oil there and it escaping too easily.

On the other hand, from what you can see, the lobes on the cam look fairly clean, and if the engine had been subject to serious, long-term, lack of maintenance - which I was concerned that it had- then that could well be worse.

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Yea I was happy to see no scoring or marks on the lobes as well.

I have to remove the cam before I can get at the tappets, at present I don't have the timing tools to allow me to remove the the timing belt etc . . . Though they are on their way from Laser and I should have them within a few days.

I still think it's either a failed valve stem oil seal holding the tappet open or a burnt out exhaust valve :(

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@BOF here is another pic, maybe it's of more help to you?

post-27636-140895988722_thumb.jpg

post-27636-140895990391_thumb.jpg

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I'd have to say that I've probably run out of usefulness on this.

I'm not sure how the oil feed is arranged on this engine, but, if you could lift that cam bearing and see it, there might be some chance of cleaning it out without completely lifting the cam. It is, however, more likely that you do have to lift the cam in order to get at it, because it is hidden below the split line.

(If you can still get them, a pipe cleaner might be something that you can feed along the oil way, assuming that there is a soft blockage somewhere near the point to which you have access. That may or may not help. What I was expecting was a cylinder head liberally coated in a black, thick, greasy substance. Given that there isn't much thick, black, greasy to be seen, maybe there is a completely different explanation.)

In which case, you do have to lift the cam, at least a little. Maybe there is a possibility of lifting all of the cam bearing upper halves and having enough play to get at the oil feed or the followers without completely losing cam synchronisation (which would make the putting back together easier), but I don't know, I've never taken one of these to pieces. On the other hand, the level of care needed to keep the cam in its position with the drive teeth may just be more trouble than it is worth. But, ensuring that you have the cam timed correctly is a bit of a pain (a fiddle, rather than excessively difficult, and the kind of thing that you worry about having done correctly), so if there is a way around that it might be a short cut. Maybe you can make little alignment marks that you can work to during re-assembly (re-assembly is the reverse of disassembly, as the Haynes manuals always, so irritatingly, say).

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Pulled the exhaust manifold off tonight, safe to say that is a valve stem oil seal at the very least :(

post-27636-140899976783_thumb.jpg

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Tomorrow will tell (all going to plan!) I should be able to get the head off tomorrow!

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So the problem was an incorrect exhaust valve fitted by previous owner(s)/mechanic.

The valve was 1mm too short in total length, quite possible a tad thinner stem as well although I didn't have the means to measure that, just an assumption based on the oil getting into cylinder.

I'm currently in the process of putting the engine all back together :)

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And she's up and running!:

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So the problem was an incorrect exhaust valve fitted by previous owner(s)/mechanic.

The valve was 1mm too short in total length, quite possible a tad thinner stem as well although I didn't have the means to measure that, just an assumption based on the oil getting into cylinder.

I'm currently in the process of putting the engine all back together :)

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Err, I have to point out that I'd have never have guessed the 'previous owner fitted completely wrong valve' scenario. Just goes to show, particularly with a newly purchased vehicle, you can never dismiss stuff out of hand, however unlikely.

I'll just point out that my local garage, many years ago, had a car in that sounded wrong. The smart money seemed to be on something in the bottom end of the engine, although there was disagreement about exactly whether it was the big ends, or not. When they pulled the engine to pieces it was clear that someone had fabricated their own piston. From wood. No one had guessed that.

PS Hope it is running well now, and you are now enjoying the car.

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