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Thread: 1986 SVO Mustang Return to Service

  1. #61
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    The bad news bears have returned. I am not sure where to go at this point. I took the turbo and manifold off, removed the gasket, put it back together. It fired right up and was running great. Let it warm up in the driveway, and then my daughter and I went for a drive of about 5 miles. About 100 feet from our house (on the way home fortunately) there was a loud pop in the front and the car started backfiring and lost all compression to the point where it would die if I let the clutch out at all. After sitting overnight it now will not start at all. I pulled the distributor to look at that and see if it had chewed another gear. It didnt, the dizzy looks fine, but it wont start. It will turn over, and I got the timing set correctly, but it just backfires a bunch and wont start. I am at a loss. As a home mechanic I am kinda limited for time and how much I can do, but I am also not going to send it out to a mechanic as this is the state that the car is in after spending $3000 to have the engine rebuilt. Something went horribly wrong, and I am at a point where I am really regretting buying this SVO. I like the look and idea of the car, but I kinda hate this particular example.

  2. #62
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    check your timing belt it may have jumped a few teeth, worst case is it blew a head gasket. SVO's can drive you crazy with little things. You can get it it's a slow going process. talk nice to it
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  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by Under Pressure View Post
    check your timing belt it may have jumped a few teeth, worst case is it blew a head gasket. SVO's can drive you crazy with little things. You can get it it's a slow going process. talk nice to it
    Checked the timing marks. The timing is correct. With the crank at TDC the timing mark on the cam pulley is pointing right at the aux shaft bolt. Confirmed using the string method as well.

    When I pulled the #1 spark plug it was soaked in gas. it is getting fuel, but something is wrong and causing it to have no power. I suppose I can go to the auto parts store and borrow a compression tester and determine the compression in the cylinders. At least that will give me a starting point for trying to figure out what is wrong with this engine.

    Out of curiosity I decided to check the plug gap on the #1 plug that I pulled out. I measured it at ~.040mm. I have read that the OEM spec is 0.034 but many folks recommend gapping at between 0.028 and 0.030. I am not sure if this could be causing my problem, like maybe the engine is blowing out the spark? I dont know why it wouldnt start at all like this though.
    Last edited by brotharon; 09-07-2019 at 12:01 PM. Reason: new findings

  4. #64
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    Correctly gapped the plugs, re-stabbed the dizzy, got the timing set to dead on 10 degrees of advance. Was running...then coolant began shooting out of the passenger side of the engine under the turbo and I believe that is the engine screaming to be freed from this world. Now I get the opportunity to pull the head and see the head gasket carnage. There doesnt appear to be any coolant in the oil, but that is little in the way of consolation. It is the project car that I deserve, just not the one that I need right now...

  5. #65
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    If its coming from under the turbo it could be the coolant line for the turbo not the head gasket. Worth checking before you pull the head!

  6. #66
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    No coolant line going to turbo. Turbo is oil cooled only. I wish that was the case, but I am pretty sure I blew the head gasket...I hope i only blew the head gasket and the head/block arent cracked. There was a bunch of suspect "upgrades" done to my SVO by previous owners. I would like to un-upgrade it, but that is easier said than done. I think that the turbo is way too big for the car for one thing. It is HUGE, like barely fits between the manifold and the strut tower huge...it actually touches the strut tower and I am fairly certain that is not right. No idea what turbo it is except that, judging by the polished chrome housing with no markings on it at all, I am assuming it is a chinese ebay turbo...probably a t3/t4 that is way too big for a little 2.3. I think I need to stop putting band-aids on knife wounds and dig into this thing and fix it properly. I was hoping to be able to put it back to right incrementally, but it appears that is not what is best for the car.

    I wish I could find an AC system to put back in while I am at it since it looks like I am going to be waist deep in SVO repairs anyway. Maybe I can piece something together. Either way, I need to dig in and find out what exactly failed and get to fixing it properly. There has been so much of this car that has been hacked out over the years it is hard to say what is ok and what needs fixed/replaced...and as I am sure you all know, some of these parts are hard to find.

  7. #67
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    There are coolant lines that route around the bottom side of the engine that route to the oil filter housing, there are some small angle hoses that are connected to metal lines. check those hoses and the clamps.
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  8. #68
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    I will check them, but I still believe in my heart that the head gasket blew. Low compression on cylinders 3 and 4 and the car was dog slow before it started puking out all of the coolant onto my garage floor. I really just want to try to put it back to being the fun little car that I am sure it wants to be. If this means that I have to take the whole thing apart and put it back together, it may take me a bit of time, but so be it. I hate that I find myself in a situation where time to spend on the car is my limiting factor in all of this, and I do not want to pay someone else to do the work on my car because the point was for me to undertake doing this myself. It is just a little frustrating that the project is turning out to be much larger than I expected, at least initially. I am beyond that now, and have committed myself to getting this thing running and doing fun car things. I just know that it is going to take me a bit of time to get it all sorted.

  9. #69
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    search on here about the 84 and 85 heads getting cracks in the head. They are notorious for blowing head gaskets. I've blown many that's why I'm now using a copper head gasket with arp studs to hold down the head. I can feel your frustration, I've been there. Pulling the head isn't too bad, just take your time. once you get the head off, check the head out real good. If it's got a crack it can be repaired. While you're in there, you should consider a new cam as the stock 84 and 85's were dogs. Some people like the roller cams. I like flat tappet cams. Study up on everything here on this website, these car are finiky. As Broson use to say Hang in there!
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  10. #70
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    I appreciate it. I am in the process of getting it apart. Mine is an 86, though I am pretty sure that a lot of the information applies to it as well.
    I am actually glad that I am doing this, because it is allowing me to get a good look at what is up with this car. I was pretty upset, but I got over it and now I am just going to tear into it and get it fixed up.

    What I have found so far (other than what is listed in my previous posts): the fuel lines to the fuel rail didnt have the little plastic clips that are supposed to hold them onto the lines. I am going to get that fixed for sure. The upper intake has been completely gutted, and the port on the back of it for the egr has been blocked off. The inlet portion has been opened up a lot to match the throttle body. The tb mounting holes have not been modified, and there is not an adapter plate or anything so I am assuming that this is still a SVO tb that is on the car with a gutted upper intake mani. The lower manifold has been ported pretty aggressively. It looks like a home job, but it also looks like the person who did it tried their best, and I dont see any of this being an issue so I intend to move forward with this manifold/tb combo. The knock sensor is gone and the location for it has a plug in its place. I have read conflicting information about whether or not you should run a knock sensor in these cars. I have one on order. The entire top end was just rebuilt with new valves/cam/followers. It is a flat tappet cam, and I have no problem with running a flat tappet cam. If I ever decide to put in a Boport cam I will address that then, but for now, as long as the head is ok, I am going to stick with what I have.

    Coming up: I need to pull the belts off and get the head off. I am then going to check the head and block to make sure that they are flat. I will inspect for cracks in the head as well. If the head is cracked I will have to deal with that, but for now I am holding out hope that it is a blown head gasket that is the guilty party.

    I will get some pics of the work in progress so that y'all can see what I am looking at and probably point out things that I am missing. Thanks to everyone for all of the sanity checking to this point.

    Nightly Update: That head is heavy. I am going to have to get a shop crane or a personal trainer...shop crane it is! Good news is that I found some head studs in there, so that is going to save me some money now that I dont have to replace the head bolts. Going to have to find me a shop crane now, but I suppose I should have one around anyway.
    Last edited by brotharon; 09-11-2019 at 03:13 PM.

  11. #71
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    Sounds like the engine has had some serious attention. Most don't put in studs for a basic rebuild.

  12. #72
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    I agree with that. It also has copper gaskets with the exception of the head gasket. The bad thing is that it also had a cheap chinese turbo, and I dont know what trim it is or anything about it, but I have heard nothing but bad stuff about these ebay turbos. I have a garrett 50 trim on order that should be here in the next few weeks. Figured I might as well put a quality unit on it while I am in there rather than putting it back together with some garbage. I am putting all new hoses on for the radiator as well because they were pretty perished and had many cracks and things in them. I checked the block and head for flatness and the good news is that the block/head are super flat, like all the way flat, I couldnt get any feeler gauges between the straight edge and the block or head at any position. I am waiting on some parts to show up now so that I can start putting her back together again.

  13. #73
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    Did you have it magnafluxed for cracks in the valve seats. Can you see if the seats have been replaced with hardened inserts? Are the valve diameters stock or oversized?

  14. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by brsvo View Post
    Did you have it magnafluxed for cracks in the valve seats. Can you see if the seats have been replaced with hardened inserts? Are the valve diameters stock or oversized?
    Didnt have it magnafluxed. I wouldnt even know where to go to get that done around here. Everything looks good visually, and the amount of coolant that exploded out wasnt from a microfracture, but i do know what you are getting at.
    I do not know what hardened seats look like compared to regular seats. This is my first foray into these engines and I am not sure what it is supposed to look like versus what it looks like. I can get pics and put them on here maybe that will help.
    I am not sure of the valve sizes. I will have to get measurements of them, but I dont have calipers to allow me to get accurate measurements of the valves.

    Pics to come...I promise.

    Pics






  15. #75
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    Definitely standard/stock sized valves. Larger valves don't have much clearance between them on the inside and the clearance to the chamber wall is also much smaller.

    I see no evidence of seat inserts on the exhaust side from those pics.

    Look at the Red Baron engine / head pics to see about the clearance between the valves and what seats look like.
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  16. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeFleming View Post
    Definitely standard/stock sized valves. Larger valves don't have much clearance between them on the inside and the clearance to the chamber wall is also much smaller.

    I see no evidence of seat inserts on the exhaust side from those pics.

    Look at the Red Baron engine / head pics to see about the clearance between the valves and what seats look like.
    Thanks Mike. I know that the pics are basically crap, but I did my best. It all looks stock to me. It also all looks to be in pretty good shape from what I can tell with my eyes. There are no cracks large enough to explain the explosion of steam and rivers of coolant that came out last time I had it on the road. I will get to the bottom of this. There are so many different things that could be causing my issues that it is dizzying. I do searches and return a ton of posts of people having similar issues, but it turns out that what was their problem is not what is my problem. I am going to make this car great again if it is the last thing that I do. The world needs more SVO Mustang! I will get it back together with new parts and make sure everything is to spec as far as torque and then try again and see where it gets me. At least the car is keeping me busy

  17. #77
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    What head gasket was installed (blue, black, special?)? Could you determine where the gasket was leaking from by looking at the gasket by itself? Looking at head surface? Looking at block surface? Investigate. Pictures, measurements, etc. How thick is the outgoing compressed gasket?

    Did all the head studs / nuts appear to have retained near the same break-away torque to loosen?

    Yes - that cast iron head is HEAVY. ~50Lbs assembled with cam. MUCH easier to pull all the studs from the block so you don't need to lift straight up an additional 6" inches to clear. And install the head without thte studs to save some back muscles too. Then re-fit the studs to block (DO NOT loctite to block - use engine oil only after cleaning all threads)

    FYI: Proper British terms for R&R:
    Remove and Refit - take a part off, inspect, clean, re-install same part (new gaskets, etc.)

    Remove and Replace - take a part off, replace with new spare part. New gaskets, etc.
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  18. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeFleming View Post
    What head gasket was installed (blue, black, special?)? Could you determine where the gasket was leaking from by looking at the gasket by itself? Looking at head surface? Looking at block surface? Investigate. Pictures, measurements, etc. How thick is the outgoing compressed gasket?

    Did all the head studs / nuts appear to have retained near the same break-away torque to loosen?

    Yes - that cast iron head is HEAVY. ~50Lbs assembled with cam. MUCH easier to pull all the studs from the block so you don't need to lift straight up an additional 6" inches to clear. And install the head without thte studs to save some back muscles too. Then re-fit the studs to block (DO NOT loctite to block - use engine oil only after cleaning all threads)

    FYI: Proper British terms for R&R:
    Remove and Refit - take a part off, inspect, clean, re-install same part (new gaskets, etc.)

    Remove and Replace - take a part off, replace with new spare part. New gaskets, etc.
    The head gasket was a Fel-Pro 8993, or something that looked exactly like one. The gasket doesnt have any signs of irregular wear, damage. I couldnt identify where the leaking was coming from once I removed it. I will get pictures of the gasket when I get home and get them on here. Looking at the head surface it looked like it might have been leaking between the gasket and the head toward the back on the passenger side of the block, but this is subjective analysis because it had been removed and the coolant that was there could have happened during removal. The block surface shows no signs of anything. I will need to pick up a set of calipers so that I can get measurements of things. I just dont have a set yet.

    No, all of the head studs did not seem to have the same break away torque. Some were so tight that I needed my breaker bar to get them loose, and others I was able to get with my 1/2" drive ratchet with a little force. Nothing seemed loose though.

    It is super heavy, I bought a shop crane to lift that monster. 50lbs isnt too heavy, but when you are leaning over an engine compartment with outstretched arms it may as well be a million pounds. I do like that bit of advise about removing the studs to reinstall, that should make my life a lot easier as long as I can properly index the head gasket to the block prior to installation.

    Sounds like a British R&R is something you better clarify with the mechanic before you let them start the work or you may not get what you expected. This is not a tip that I picked up from years of watching Edd China fix cars on TV.

  19. #79
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    I decided that it is pointless to post pictures without having the tools to get the analysis done to the parts. I ordered a set of digital calipers and when they arrive I will get measurements of the various parts that I removed. I am working on getting things cleaned up and prepped to be reassembled. It doesnt appear that loctite was used on the studs, so that is nice, i can get them out can then put the head back on and reinstall them. Will make my life a bunch easier.

  20. #80
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    Quick question to whomever might be have an answer. I have the timing belt tensioner and spring off because the head is completely removed. I cleaned the head all up and made it look nice (plus got years of old gasket off of it) and I dont want to mess it all up. Is there some trick or pro tip you can give me on how to get that spring back on there. I know that normally you would tension up the spring and lock it in place, but it is completely off of the engine and needs reinstalled, and that is one tough little spring. I dont have a tool to tension it over the little stud on the engine, but I am assuming that there is a tool for that. I am hoping that there is a trick to getting it on there without the use of a special tool otherwise I get to invent something.

    **Nevermind, I figured out that it is pretty easy to get the tensioner on there, and then have a helper tighten the bolt in the tension removed position when you hulk grip the tensioner as if your life depended on it. No prybar or special tool required.
    Last edited by brotharon; 09-19-2019 at 12:42 PM.

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