biodegraded

1953 Special - Smoke from crank case ventilation tube

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Hi all,

 

I've been noticing a lot of smoke coming from the crankcase ventilation tube, especially when accelerating.  Is this normal?  Do I have bad rings?  Any other reasons this might be happening?  Would an oil treatment help at all? If so, what would you recommend?

 

Thanks for the input.

 

Corbin

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First treatment:  change the oil and take it out for long, long run on the highway.  Volatile gases and water get dissolved in the oil and will smoke like that.  If the fun run on the highway does nothing then compression checks to verify severely  worn piston rings.

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On 3/14/2017 at 3:52 PM, old-tank said:

First treatment:  change the oil and take it out for long, long run on the highway.  Volatile gases and water get dissolved in the oil and will smoke like that.  If the fun run on the highway does nothing then compression checks to verify severely  worn piston rings.

Thanks, Tank. I'll let you know how it goes.

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Sorry in advance for the incredibly long post. I have additional info (possibly) on this issue and I'm hoping maybe someone can help me trouble shoot. 

 

There is a long steep hill on my way to work that is about 5 min from my house. The last three times I've driven the Buick to work, it bogs down and loses power at exactly the same spot, right when I start up that hill. I have it floored but only creep up the hill at about 30 mph. At the top of the hill after a little ways it picks up again. It even alternating surged and hesitated one day all the way up the hill. It felt like it wasn't getting enough fuel. I couldn't even get the RPMs up. On the way home on level road or up smaller hills it runs smooth and strong. No problem accelerating. 

 

So I checked the fuel pump pressure and it was 5psi which I think is sufficient from what I could find. I checked compression and cylinder #8 had zero pressure. One other cylinder was at 90 psi but all others were at 120psi. 

 

I poured 1 Tb of oil in the two low cylinders to see if I could get the pressure to come up, but #8 stayed at zero. The other low cylinder did come up to 120 which the internet tells  me that means I'm getting a little blow by past the rings on that cylinder. The internet also suggests that # 8 staying at zero means it's a stuck valve or something similar. What do others think?

 

After checking all those things, I put new plugs in. The old ones were looking a little black like it's been running rich. Then I took her out for a test drive up the big hill. She pulled fine and strong. Accelerated all the way up. Considering all these things, I have a few questions. 

 

Would a stuck valve cause all my symptoms? My symptoms (original and new) are smoke out the crank ventilation tube under acceleration. Smoke out the tail pipe under acceleration. Soot and water out the tailpipe on startup. No power or RPMs when going up a steep hill (except for my last test drive after changing the plugs). 

 

Do I have multiple things going wrong or would they all be related?

 

I'm thinking the blow by on the one cylinder could be causing the smoke. I'm hoping the #8 cylinder with zero pressure is a valve instead of rings because I am guessing a stuck valve would be easier to deal with. But I don't have any experience with doing valve jobs. Can anyone give me advice on that front? 

 

I know this is a long post, but maybe there's a Dr. House of Buicks out there that can diagnose all my symptoms as caused by one thing and give me some good advice. 

 

Thanks for all the help. I'm learning but I've got a long way to go and you guys are helping me get there!

 

 

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Zero compression in #8 certainly sounds like a valve issue.  If you have access to an air compressor you could perform a leakdown test on that cylinder.  Really, all that is necessary is to adapt fittings to pressurize the cylinder through the spark plug hole.  Bring that cylinder to TDC on the power stroke (verify the rotor is pointing at #8 terminal on the distributor cap).  Then apply the air and listen for where it is escaping.  If the hiss is at the tail pipe it's a stuck or burnt exhaust valve.  If it's hissing through the carb, then it's an intake valve issue.  In either case, I would then pull the valve cover and see what's going on with the pushrod and rocker shaft.

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I'm sure you would feel that missing cylinder on that hill.  If it went away with a new plug, just check the compression on that cylinder again now.  If it's still 0 then I agree with Emtee's recommendation.

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Kiljoy here!  Zero compression and a lot of crankcase vapors may be a piston with a hole. When you DO the test as EmTee suggested, if the hissing is from the crankcase vents, guess what?

 

  Where are you located?

 

  Ben

Edited by Ben Bruce aka First Born (see edit history)
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9 hours ago, Ben Bruce aka First Born said:

Zero compression and a lot of crankcase vapors may be a piston with a hole.

 

Absolutely -- I've never experienced that one personally, but I have read in other threads on this site that piston failure is a possibility with nailheads.  So, yeah, like Ben said...

 

... as for the spark plug change, I'll guess that there may have been another cylinder with a fouled plug.  So, maybe the new plugs got you from 6 1/2 cylinders to 7.

Edited by EmTee (see edit history)
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Pull the head and keep repeating "I am only going to fix what I find wrong." NEVER stop saying that. Say it while you are working on the car, before you go to bed, when you get up in the morning, at lunch time at work, and tell your closest friends that you are only going to fix the problem at hand.

 

Do that and you have a few hours work to fix it.

 

Just once, thinking "As long as I'm in here...", you are in trouble.

Bernie

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As long as the additional "work" will only take 15 minutes MAX and will make a better repair.  Only ONE "while I'm here" allowed, period!  If there are more, re-evaluation needed.

 

Sometimes, better to do a "while I'm here" than to later "Wish I'd done that while I was there" (as another repair is needed two weeks later).  In general, LESS is BEST . . . for many reasons . . . when possible.

 

NTX5467

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I came back from a car show and decided to clean some black overspray off my engine compartment wires with lacquer thinner. Someone had buzzed it with a little black to brighten up the engine compartment.

At the point this picture was taken Zero $ and about 3 days had been expended.

004.jpg.e3e454b8c3ee1dac76294d3242e8a2c6.jpg

 

"Well maybe this one little job."   :):lol::lol:;) Sure.

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I've got a friend who was going to do a little spiffing-up of the underhood of his '69 Dart Swinger 340.  Then, two days before the car show he was getting ready for, we heard that he had the fenders off!  We KNEW the speed at which he worked, so we were concerned as the car had to be at the show by a certain time.  He finally got there, 15 minutes before the doors closed, with enough bolts holding things together to get there.  MUCH work (and our concerns) to make his mind feel better.  He hasn't lived that down yet (about 20 years later)!!

 

NTX5467

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On 4/8/2017 at 10:46 PM, Ben Bruce aka First Born said:

Kiljoy here!  Zero compression and a lot of crankcase vapors may be a piston with a hole. When you DO the test as EmTee suggested, if the hissing is from the crankcase vents, guess what?

 

  Where are you located?

 

  Ben

 

Ben, I thought of that, too. Especially if a stuck valve impacted the cylinder head.  But I was just trying to keep my head at least a little way in the sand.  But I wasn't sure how I would be able to tell other than if I fixed a stuck valve and still got zero compression.  Thanks for the suggestion about checking the vent tube for the hissing.

 

I'm in Maryland, just outside DC.

 

 

On 4/9/2017 at 10:47 AM, 60FlatTop said:

Pull the head and keep repeating "I am only going to fix what I find wrong." NEVER stop saying that. Say it while you are working on the car, before you go to bed, when you get up in the morning, at lunch time at work, and tell your closest friends that you are only going to fix the problem at hand.

 

Do that and you have a few hours work to fix it.

 

Just once, thinking "As long as I'm in here...", you are in trouble.

Bernie

 

I will take that to heart, Bernie.  I don't think it will be too hard for me seeing as how I'm pretty inexperienced and have to learn as I go.  That means I usually take a lot longer just to fix the one thing I started with and never even have time to contemplate adding things to the ToDo list. Little hands wanting to help do make it more memorable, but also add to the length of time required to finish a job (see pics). :D

 

Thanks to everyone for all the advice and help.

 

 

IMG_9718.JPG

IMG_9719.JPG

Edited by biodegraded
Added pics (see edit history)
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If I lived closer I would help.

 

I would even introduce you to my barber. I stopped in yesterday, pulled out my smart phone, and said "Make me look like this guy."

SirSeanConnery.jpg.c7cc1e5c52d864c2d09bcb24aaa021e3.jpg

 

My Wife said he did a good job.

Bernie

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I pulled off the valve cover and looked for signs of a stuck valve.  The rocker arms were moving as expected to my eye, although I didn't measure their movement (see attached videos).  The valves also seemed to be moving up and down appropriately.  I still need to adjust the valve lash according to the specs in the manual, but I also thought about doing a combustion chamber clean just to see if it helps.

 

So my question is, has anyone had luck with the Seafoam top engine cleaner?  Other sites also recommend using the Mopar Combustion Chamber Cleaner.  I understand how to use the Seafoam (just take off the air cleaner and pour it a little at a time into the carburetor.  But the Mopar product everyone says to spray it into a vacuum line.  Is that what I should do?  How do I do that on the 263?  Or can I just spray it into the carb like the Seafoam?

 

The Mopar is supposed to be a foam that expands.  That being the case, can I just spray it into the plug holes and let it sit without cranking the engine?  Then I would remove the plugs and crank a little to expel any liquid before replacing the plugs and running it.  Thoughts?

IMG_0170.MOV

IMG_0169.MOV

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Combustion cleaners are not necessary and are ineffective.

No stuck valves noted.

Time to get your hands dirty.

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In other forums, the less alcohol a fuel additive has is preferred.  Seafoam is on that list.  Seafoam only reached the DFW area a few years ago and seemed to be highly-promoted (as indicated by the glowing reports in some forums) by the auto supplies which took on that product line (and the jobbers who sold it to them).  Not to say it doesn't work, but the suddenness of postings tended to indicate it was highly-promoted to the masses.  Kind of like some alternative types of spark plugs!

 

Many current cleaners are more designed to be used as "intake tract cleaners" and "combustion chamber cleaners" on fuel injected engines (which can explain the use of a vacuum line for introduction to the motor).  These can typically increase the heat of combustion to better "burn off" the accumulated carbon deposits in the combustion chamber.  It's a "quick fix", usually with varying results.

 

One thought . . . IF a valve is stuck, then something between the camshaft lobe and the rocker arm will bend or break!  Valve spring pressures can be greater than about100 pounds (seat pressure, valve closed) to several hundred pounds (valve open), so having a really stuck valve in that scenario seems (to me) unlikely.  As the piston moves up and down, there usually is some lateral movement in it, which means the piston rings can move in their respective groove.  Plus the pressure differentials between vacuum and combustion pressure can result in vertical movement in their respective groove.  So "up and down" and "side to side" happen with each engine revolution.

 

What CAN happen is the ring can lose its tension against the cylinder wall so that its particular effectiveness is decreased.  Whether it's the compression ring and/or the oil ring package.  Even so, some degree of effectiveness can still exist, but not at optimal levels.  What CAN also happen is that the oil holes behind the oil ring package can become clogged with time, so the oil ring pack's effectiveness can be decreased.  Similar with the other rings, too.  Related build-ups behind the rings can hinder things, too.

 

Trying to "fix" these things with an "overhaul in a can", IF the problem areas have been there or have been building up with time, can improve some aspects of things, but not totally "fix" things.

 

End result . . . old-tank's short answer above.

 

Please keep us posted on what you find.

 

NICE looking Buick!  Especially the Frenching of the portholes!  Lots of beaming pride in those photos!

 

NTX5467

Edited by NTX5467 (see edit history)
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Thanks for the advice.  I went ahead and tried the Seafoam.  I think it's obvious that I'm stalling on pulling the head.  As expected, Seafoam didn't do much. But all the mosquitoes in the neighborhood are dead now, so at least there's that. :P

 

I guess I'll eventually have to come to terms with removing the head, but I'm hesitant because it might be too big of a job for my experience level.  But it will be a learning experience for sure, so I think I'll just bite the bullet and do it.  Given that I'm nervous about my abilities to do everything right the first time, I was considering a reusable head gasket.  A friend recommended I use one in case I have to pull the head again for whatever reason.  

 

Do they make reusable head gaskets for the 263?  Anybody have any experience with them or info for online vendors?

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So I did the compressed air test that was suggested and bad news -- the air was coming out of the vent tube. So that means either a hole in the piston or very bad rings. 

 

The manual says to pull the head and remove pistons from the top when doing a ring job. It also says to remove any shoulder on the cylinder wall that may have been worn in as it could damage the piston when removing. I don't have a way to remove any shoulder on the cylinder wall.

 

Question 1: how likely is it that I will have to grind or ream down a shoulder if this engine has never been rebuilt?

 

Question 2: Is it possible to remove the piston from below to avoid this step?

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Neat car!

If taking out from the top.......

No need to be afraid of taking out the ridge at the top of the cylinder.

 

Rent , borrow, or buy a small hand reamer.  You'll have that ridge leveled in minutes.

 

Getting the oil pan down so you can push out the offending piston remains will be covered in detail

by my Buick brothers here shortly, I'm sure.  

 

You will then get to pull out the busted piston pieces and scrape out

the thick layer of gray/black splooge from your pan.

 

No need to fear this job.......just good advice from the boys here, a good helper, good tools,

and good common sense.   And, lastly ..... if you can't see daylight through the other pistons on that bank....

leave 'em in there and enjoy driving that car.  Mr.  Bond got it right!

 

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, biodegraded said:

So I did the compressed air test that was suggested and bad news -- the air was coming out of the vent tube. So that means either a hole in the piston or very bad rings. 

 

The manual says to pull the head and remove pistons from the top when doing a ring job. It also says to remove any shoulder on the cylinder wall that may have been worn in as it could damage the piston when removing. I don't have a way to remove any shoulder on the cylinder wall.

 

Question 1: how likely is it that I will have to grind or ream down a shoulder if this engine has never been rebuilt?

 

Question 2: Is it possible to remove the piston from below to avoid this step?

 

 

1. Use a hone stone for a drill to remove the shoulder in the cylinder.  

 

2. Removing from the bottom is probably tough.  Not to mention the piston rings should be installed with the piston from the top.  It would be  hell from the bottom with  crank in .  

 

This on a drill will remove the ridge at the top of the cylinder.  Need it to cross hatch the cylinder when ready to install the new rings.  Good tool you need for this job.  Plenty of youtube videos on how to use it.   

 

31-oTo+aYzL._SX342_.jpg

 

Edited by avgwarhawk (see edit history)
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9 hours ago, Roadmaster75 said:

 

Rent , borrow, or buy a small hand reamer.  You'll have that ridge leveled in minutes.

 

6 hours ago, avgwarhawk said:

 

 

1. Use a hone stone for a drill to remove the shoulder in the cylinder.  

 

 

This on a drill will remove the ridge at the top of the cylinder.  Need it to cross hatch the cylinder when ready to install the new rings.  Good tool you need for this job.  Plenty of youtube videos on how to use it.   

 

31-oTo+aYzL._SX342_.jpg

 

Remove the carbon on the upper cylinder with a scraper and scotchbrite.  If you can easily catch a fingernail on a ridge (meaning the it is over 0.010 wear in the cylinder), then the block should be bored.

If you own a ridge reamer, throw it away...if not then run!  Proper installation of the tool requires a straight cylinder bore; most are out of round  and tapered and will result over cutting and ruining the cylinder.

Hopefully a hone will clean it up, but the bore should be carefully measured since in the past it may have had a ridge previously removed.

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The cylinder wall "finish" can relate to the rings used in it.  I know it sounds counter to all I've read, but I had a friend that was in the vehicle wholesale business.  Buying at one auction and taking to another distant auction for resale.  He had the somewhat common Chevy C-30 "2 car hauler" that was common in the later 1970s, with the requisite Chevy 454 V-8.  

 

Once, he was getting oil consumption issues, determined to be from the rings, so he pulled the engine apart and just put in new chrome-moly rings.  NO touch of any cylinder bore hone, just check the end gap and put everything back together.  It worked!  I asked my engine machine shop associate about that and he reminded me that a chrome-moly ring needs a smoother surface against which to work than a normal chrome piston ring.  Therefore, that "quick rebuild" worked just fine with that type of ring on a used engine with no cylinder wall scoring or "issues".  Then, it all made sense.  That particular engine had been rebuild by my associate a few years ago and had accumulated about 250K since then.  Everything "inside" was known-good, just with a little wear.  I suspect that as those 454s could run a little hotter in that use, with time, the tension of the rings might have decreased to allow for increased oil consumption.  Therefore, all that was needed new rings of the correct type.

 

Might not work that well for others, but in this case, it did.  Key thing, to me, was that when the engine was rebuilt, it was done by a machinist that could do Chevy engines and do them RIGHT without thinking about it.  Therefore, everything inside the engine was "known" with great machine work.  This might not be the case of an initial engine rebuild from factory condition, but worn.  Tommy knew how to build an engine that would last in that use, which was a huge asset!  Although it was a common "plus .030" rebuild, dead-on machine work and quality assembly made it work better than new.

 

NTX5467

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Finally pulled the head and found a piston with two holes burned through the edge. Any idea what could have caused this? I don't want to put a new piston in only to have it happen again. 

 

I've taken the head to a machine shop to have the valves done in case they had anything to do with it (although they didn't show any particular signs). 

 

Next I'll drop the pan and pull the piston to see what the rest of the damage is. But thought I'd ask for any help diagnosing before I proceed. 

IMG_0659.JPG

IMG_0660.JPG

Edited by biodegraded (see edit history)

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Detonation would be my answer to hole in the edge of the piston.  I would be interested in seeing what the rings on this piston look like at or near the hole.

Edited by avgwarhawk (see edit history)
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