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Is it likely that the piston rings could be damaged following a cam belt failure on a Zetec 1.6? If so can that be seen once the cylinder head has been removed?

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  • martinchappl Jun 03, 2009

    Hi Spark9
    Thank you very much, that sounds a very clever and time saving way of replacing the piston rings.
    Kind regards
    Martin

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Pull oil pan remove rod bolts push piston to top of engine to replace rings putting on new heads anyway so access to top of piston.just be careful not to scratch the crank journals with the studs on the piston rod. ------------ you need someone to show you how, but if you want to try on your own, start with the oil ring. Depending on the type, it may have come in 3 pieces. 
The 3 piece oil rings are a bit of a puzzle for the first timer, and you'll need to follow the guide, putting the center piece in place first then the two spring steel pieces will go to the top and bottom of the grove. Just put one end of the spring in place and feed it around the piston without kinking the spring steel. Also make sure the center ring doesn't overlap itself when you're done. 
Or the oil ring may be a single piece. For installing single piece rings sometimes snap ring expander pliers can help you expand the ring while you slide it over the piston. 
The rings are somewhat springy, and will tolerate expanding enough to get them over the piston, but don't try to open them up beyond that. 
Look at the package and note the marking that indicates the top of the piston. The three piece oil ring won't require orientation like the single piece other rings, but look carefully and note the markings. Sometimes it's a dot on the piston, sometimes it's a dimple but the package should show what to look for. 
Last, use a ring compressor over the pistons when you're putting the piston into the cylinder. Align the "front" marker on the piston to the front of the engine then press the piston into the cylinder, making sure that the rod cap bolts don't scratch the crankshaft. 
---------- lternitivly remove both crank and camshaft pulleys and check
Well!! There are two ways of testing busted piston rings.

A. Easy way. 
What you need: Car Keys 

Start you car. Let it idle for 5 minutes or so. After that rev it hard. If you see white smoke comming out of exhaust vigorously. The rings are kaput.

B. Technical Way
What you need: Compression Guage, Engine oil in a dispensor, correct size Box Spanner for your spark plugs and ofcourse car keys.

1. Open the bonnet. remove a spark plug with a box spanner, Insert the compression guage.

2. Disconnect the High Tension cable from HT-Coil. (this is important, or engine will fire up)

3. Crank the engine. Take a note of the reading and match it with the factory reading (I guess you have the engine data manual already).

4. If the reading is below the actual pressure, remove the compression guage, Dispense 5-10 drops of oil (standard 20w40 will do), put back the guage. And Crank the engine again, If the compression improves, The rings need replacement.

5. Repeat the above procedure for all the cylinders

thanks.please do rate the solution.thank you using fixya.keep updated.

Posted on May 29, 2009

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Water in the oil


Radiator coolant in the engine oil is normally an indication of a failed cylinder head gasket or a crack in the cylinder head or both.

Running the engine in an overheated condition will cause head gasket failure and often a crack in the cylinder head.

The problem you have is coolant is escaping into the engine's lubrication passages via the failed head gasket or head crack and contaminating the engine oil. If not fixed you will cause further damage to the engine as oil contaminated with radiator coolant cannot adequately lubricate the engine.

Running a leak down test on each cylinder will confirm the leak. In this case you are going to need to have the cylinder head removed and thoroughly checked for cracks and any warpage as well as a new cylinder head gasket fitted. The condition the engine block surface will also need to be checked.

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Trying to replace broken timing belt. Trying to set #1 cyl. to TDC manually. no compression reading on 1 &4, readings on 2 & 3. What could cause this?? HELP!!


Hole in the piston crown is the worst Charles, but let's not be pessimistic :>(

More likely valves open. At TDC firing stroke both inlet and exhaust valves should be closed. The flat, low part of the cam should be on the followers. So 1 and 4 have valves open, 2 and 3 are closed. If you turn the cam 180 degrees, you should have compression on 1 and 4 and no compression on 2 and 3.

The other thing though, is that when the timing belt breaks, the valves are often in the wrong place at the wrong time and can often meet the piston head on. This can bend the valves. or damage the piston. The normal advice is to remove the cylinder head to check, and then service the valves whilst you have it apart.

A job like this, you need a workshop manual.

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there are only four possibilities left:
1: valves are not fully seating - adjust rocker arm / cam
2: piston rings are bad - replace rings
3: holes in pistons - replace
4: cylinders out of round - most complicated repair, bore / machine cylinders and replace piston rings with oversized rings.

of course you could just have 'gunk' on the valves preventing full closure........

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I replace timing belt but cant set timing


Hi Robert, It would help to know what engine is in your vehicle? A rule of thumb way to set up the valve timing is as follows. Rotate the crank shaft until the crank shaft mark is about 90 degrees from TDC. This will protect the valves from damage when rotating the cams to align them. With the tappet cover removed rotate the cam shaft or shafts so that the number one cylinder is on compression (both inlet and exhaust valves fully closed) and the last cylinder in line on overlap, Look for adjacent timing marks on the cam gears and somewhere close to those look for the alignment marks (maybe notch marks, holes or indented match marks). (Some manufactures use the machined gasket surface where the tappet cover closes onto the cylinder head). Look closely for the static mark on the cylinder head and align the cam(s) to it or them. Once completed, set the crank at Top Dead Center and look carefully for a timing mark which aligns with the gear and set them. Fit the belt so the marks align when the tensioner bearing is released and presses the belt under load. (follow the manufactures recommended tightening instructions.) . (Remember never to crimp a timing belt, if it has been, throw it away and get another, even if it is new!) If the belt snapped and that is the reason for replacement, internal damage may have resulted inside the engine. A snapped belt may cause damage to the valves, the camshafts, the cam shaft caps and to the pistons. If the engine turns much faster than expected and sounds as if there is no compression, you have problems! (Those I've just mentioned. I hope not for your sake. best of luck Regards John

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The engine has blown. I need to replace it or change pistons and rings. How difficult is it to change pistons and rings?


It can be time consuming and the end result may not be desirable if you haven't done it before.
--- The following is just a sample of what to do once the engine is torn down: Pistons and Connecting Rods
  1. Before installing the piston/connecting rod assembly, oil the pistons, piston rings and the cylinder walls with light engine oil. Install connecting rod bolt protectors or rubber hose onto the connecting rod bolts/studs. Also perform the following:
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    6. Check the ring side clearance of the compression rings with a feeler gauge inserted between the ring and its lower land according to specification. The gauge should slide freely around the entire ring circumference without binding. Any wear that occurs will form a step at the inner portion of the lower land. If the lower lands have high steps, the piston should be replaced. Fig. 6: The notch on the side of the bearing cap matches the tang on the bearing insert tccs3917.gif

  2. Unless new pistons are installed, be sure to install the pistons in the cylinders from which they were removed. The numbers on the connecting rod and bearing cap must be on the same side when installed in the cylinder bore. If a connecting rod is ever transposed from one engine or cylinder to another, new bearings should be fitted and the connecting rod should be numbered to correspond with the new cylinder number. The notch on the piston head goes toward the front of the engine.
  3. Install all of the rod bearing inserts into the rods and caps. Fig. 7: Most rings are marked to show which side of the ring should face up when installed to the piston tccs3222.gif

  4. Install the rings to the pistons. Install the oil control ring first, then the second compression ring and finally the top compression ring. Use a piston ring expander tool to aid in installation and to help reduce the chance of breakage. Fig. 8: Install the piston and rod assembly into the block using a ring compressor and the handle of a hammer tccs3914.gif

  5. Make sure the ring gaps are properly spaced around the circumference of the piston. Fit a piston ring compressor around the piston and slide the piston and connecting rod assembly down into the cylinder bore, pushing it in with the wooden hammer handle. Push the piston down until it is only slightly below the top of the cylinder bore. Guide the connecting rod onto the crankshaft bearing journal carefully, to avoid damaging the crankshaft.
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1 Answer

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Once the cause has been found you can proceed to make an appropriate repair. Or if the damage is beyond your ability, replace the engine with a used or new one.
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