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1989 16v DOHC Disappointment


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So my recent 16v purchase is suddenly going sour...

while the brake issue was resolved easily with help from fellow readers, i still hadn't figured out the excessive "shake".

before i could examine the wheel/tire further, i had a new, more pressing problem - a loud knock knock knock, and the shaking increased.

i stopped and could still hear the knocking, and the front of the car was still shaking, hard. upon opening the hood, i noticed the 2nd plug wire from the passenger side was out of the seat. after shutting off the engine, i examined the "well", and noticed the plug was leaning to the side, and the cap was laying in the bottom.

i drove another 26 miles and then had the opportunity to get another plug and some tools (thanks advance auto parts), fished out the cap, got a plug socket. i didn't even need a ratchet - the plug turned easily out of the hole. the plug side electrode was pushed most of the way up into the plug, which pushed the rest of the plug body out of the metal jacket, accounting for the "leaning" plug body.

not 100% sure yet what the issue is but none of them have good outcomes.

i have read a few older posts about the 16v block being junk if something happens to the pistons. is this true? many comments were made indicating parts to rebuild the block, or replace the pistons, are not available. yet when i look at rockauto.com, i see pretty much all engine parts available BUT pistons. is their listed parts NOT right for the DOHC 89 engine?

are my options limited to another block (TII or TIII?) and does that mean junking the heads, too?

i've only ever done engine or trany transplants on rear wheel drive cars - i have an 8v auto setup i can use (complete parts car) if i have to, or is it easier to just swap engines?

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It sounds to me like the engine spit a spark plug out. I had that happen on my Shelby Lancer (TII), and it was loud as hell and made the car shake bad and sound like a helicopter! Unfortunately it took the threads in the head with it, so I couldn't even install a new plug. I did use spark plug repair kit from NAPA which entailed drilling/tapping for a threaded insert and that worked great.

Was the noise you are hearing from the broken plug, from the piston hitting the plug, or some other noise like bearing failure? I would be surprised to hear the piston hit the spark plug considering the dish on those pistons are really deep.

As far as replacement parts, the only really hard to find parts are going to be the rod bearings although I've heard Rick Diogo has them.

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Woah, slow down on the turnig sour on the car Lee:eek: So the plug was unscrewed and the motor was running on three cylinders right? Yeah, that'll make it roun rough and shake;) So what did you do, replace the plug? You skipped over that part in your post. I have seen some cases of EXTREME carbon build up in the 16V heads as they have a very narrow (tight tolerance) squish area. The carbon can actually build up enough to chunk off, find its way around inside the combustion chamber and do some damage. I have a spare cylinder head that is going to need to be welded to fix all that scars in it. I don't thing it was something mettalic/a foreign object, the edges of the scars are just not sharp enough for that.

Anyway, back to what is happening Lee, what is going on now? And how did you find plugs so easily at the autoparts store, the last set I bought from a chain store years ago ended upo being exactly the right plugs-except they wouldn't fit:mad: They require an 18mm socket instead of a 16mm socket. The 18 wont fit down inside of the plug wells in the head:(

Alan

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sour isn't the word, alan :( stressed, maybe. :eek:SERENITY NOW!:D

i was stuck in meadville PA until 11pm on a friday because sucky allstate motor club towing was going to cost $400+ to home (AAA - i'm sorry, PLEASE take me back!), my local, part-time back-up tow service guy would do it for $200, but HE had a bad axle seal keeping him off the road til tuesday, and u-haul was about to close...:eek: AND my nephew, with whom i was going to visit, likely drove past me, while i was stranded at the advance auto, on his way home from allegheny U, WITH HIS CELL PHONE TURNED OFF... auughhhhh. SERENITY NOW!;)

oh, and YOU didn't have to hear "maybe you SHOULD have purchased that civic hybrid"...;) which i deserved...

luckily my friend got to u-haul just as they were locking up at 8pm. by 1:30am we were home.

i didn't change the plug. just towed home. your insight into the carbon issue has traction - the guy that i called just moments ago said the same thing about carbon...

about the plug luck - advance had something like 10 listings for plugs for this beast, but only had 3 brands in stock: NGK, Autolite, and champion. sales clerk pulled the "best" one, NGK he said, and we found what you said - a crazy 18mm hex. it didn't make sense. then he pulled an autolite, and the same thing: 18mm. at this point he said i was out of luck. but after i got the spark plug cap out, i found the plug in the engine was in fact 16mm and was loose enough to remove by hand. i asked to see the last ones he had, champion, and, lo-and-behold, they were 16mm! nothing but dumb luck!

i didn't want to risk possible additional damage, so i didn't replace the plug.

i guess the next step is to remove the head and see what has happened.

looks like i may be in for a new valve cover gasket, after all...

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iTurbo - the spark plug threads seemed fine. in fact i screwed the plug in finger tight just to test it to see if it would tighten. then i removed it. if course i did NOT turn it with a ratchet, so i guess i don't really know if the head threads for the plug were/are undamaged.

the sound and shake and shimmy was very "helicopter"-like.

i am "liking" the carbon idea, as much as i can "like" this whole thing...

wait, wait - i have an urge to start a brouhaha - wait for it, here it comes...

maybe if the last owner had used premium gas :eek: there wouldn't be a carbon issue. ;)

only kidding! :D

Edited by Lee_M
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iTurbo - the spark plug threads seemed fine. in fact i screwed the plug in finger tight just to test it to see if it would tighten. then i removed it. if course i did NOT turn it with a ratchet, so i guess i don't really know if the head threads for the plug were/are undamaged.

i am "liking" the carbon idea, as much as i can "like" this whole thing...

wait, wait - i have an urge to start a brouhaha - wait for it, here it comes...

maybe if the last owner had used premium gas :eek: there wouldn't be a carbon issue. ;)

only kidding! :D

Very funny Lee. :D So when are you going to tighten all 4 spark plugs with a ratchet so you are sure they are properly tightened?

You are probably going to find other issues, so we will all be waiting... :rolleyes:

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This may seem like a silly question, but why is every one so quick to tear it down. Take the time to do the proper diagnostics first. It this case it sounds like that might be a compression test and depending on the out come a blow-by and or a look see with a miniature camera. You could save a lot of time, trouble and other possible broken parts. Loose items might be able to be removed through the spark plug hole. Gaskets for these engines are mostly unique and are hard to come by. Don't hear of surgeons doing exploratory surgery these days anymore......

-It has been a long winter here, but did three shows this month....Rich

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wait, a ratchet? i am SUPPOSED to use a ratchet?

am i risking additional damage if i replace all the plugs and start it? or at this point, does it matter little?

any value in removing all plugs, then: crank engine a bit; listen for bad sounds; add plugs; repeat?

Edited by Lee_M
verb - cranking to crank (see edit history)
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why rush to gut it, you ask, rich? 'cause it's the quickest way to more regret...

yeah, i gotta slow down.

i like the camera idea, and some tests.

d@mn i gotta get out there and do something.

thanks, all!

Edited by Lee_M
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gee, this 36,000 mile "parts" car you tease about - is it garage-kept, or outside under cover?

can you tell me your address, and post a schedule of when you will be away? ;D

so what's THAT all about in your signature? why on earth would a 36k mile TC be unloved?

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Interesting turn this thread has taken:D Welcome Girl In Indy, we would sure like to hear more about the rarest of all TC's, the triple black 16V car:cool:!! You know, a little history, a picture or ten...

I'm with Rich, I'd not tear into anything past pulling all four plugs and cranking, and then maybe a compression test and a SeaFoam treament for carbon build up... Especially since the threads were good in the head and plug went back in by hand.

Now, how about a little more on the Champion plugs that were correct for the motor, I'm interested:cool:! I bout a multi box lot of the 18MM NGK's on ebay a few years back, stuck with them so to speak. I believe there is plenty of 'meat' in the plug wells to have them machined out to the minimum size to fit an 18MM thin walled socket in there. Head needs to come off the red TC soon for oil consumption issues:o Of course some porting and this larger IHI turbo will be called for during reassembly.

Alan

Alan

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yesterday was full of other activities, including going to napa for the plugs. hoping to get to the plugs today.

part of the delay was trying to get the 16v TC "round-back" to the site of my soon-to-be-built TC stable (garage). my good friend that came to get me - his 4wd ford 1-ton apparently is having some issues staying in 4wd, and we got stuck on the dirt road behind the house. we had to drop the TC off the dolly, move the truck and dolly out of the way, and on 3-cyl i drove right onto the future site of the garage.

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Thanks for the welcome. I've been following your thread on the plugs and I know that on mine the threads were stripped on one of the heads. They put in something, the name is escaping me now but something foil (come on I'm a girl)

OK, so more about my TC.

My ex-boyfriend bought it new for an investment, it was covered and in a garage until about 7 years ago. He just got tired and didn't really have time to spend working on it. I wanted the car, and it was like a parting gift.... well sort of.

Anyway, I can post lot's of pictures, but I think I might want to give it a bath first. It's in great shape, just really dirty.

I enjoy reading the threads and I'm learning a lot about my little car.

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i did not have the broken plug installed when i returned from meadville, and nor was it installed when i drove it to the new garage site.

as i had mentioned in previous posts, i found the plug in question loose in the cylinder, and i was able to turn it and remove it, with my fingers and an extension and a spark plug socket.

i was also able to drop it back in the 'well' and able to turn it as though tightening it.

instead of tightening it up fully, i removed it.

oddly enough, i can neither install ANY plugs nor remove ANY of the others.

let's see if anyone can answer "why?"

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so, i tried three 5/8in 3/8in-drive spark plug sockets and none would fit in the well.

i purchased one from advance, designed for tight spaces, and it worked - and strangely enough the one they let me borrow when i "broke down" was also a slim one - i actually was turning the plug in when i first thought i was hosed in meadville. anyway, with the newly acquired socket, i ...

removed the remaining three plugs.

cranked it.

replaced the three plugs, and added a new one.

started it up and it seems fine.

so tell me about the best way to "seafoam" the engine. do you recommend in the tank, in the crankcase, or via a vacuum line, all three, or another method?

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fyi - girlinindy, wash n wax that 16v triple-black, take off the top, and show that italian beauty off around the town!

I visited my car yesterday with the spark plug wires and the radiator (both important in starting the car I think) Thank you for the heads up on where to find the spark plugs.

The inside still smells like New Leather

I can't wait to drive it! I washed it and the paint is in great condition. I'm amazed that body and the interior are in perfect condition.

You guys will see it soon. Just need to find a head light

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yes Egads! not a bulb, the whole darn thing. However, with that said it does have one laying in the front seat, but I'm not sure yet whether it fits the car or not.

I mean if the Headlight is the worse problem on the car, I think I'll jump for joy

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