Engine Darn Stock Block Problems

Hoytster

I don't dare do that to my Knob
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So I managed to blow up my 93' on Friday while cruising home from the storage barn. By cruising, I mean full throttle, 14 pounds of boost, at the bottom of 3rd gear, cause that's how I cruise ;) . I was planning to go to the strip but I never made it....

The engine lost all power after the shift into third so I immediately looked in the rear view and saw a huge cloud of smoke trailing me. I shifted into neutral and shut down the engine and coasted onto the shoulder. I didn't get a chance to check the oil pressure gauge before the shutdown, so I'm not sure if I lost oil pressure. When I got to the shoulder and opened the hood, there was coolant everywhere (hit the hood above the intake and trailed me to where I parked) and the engine was hissing from somewhere around the intake/cylinder heads. There is some oil under the hood, but only a very small amount and it appears that most of it got pushed out through the breather and the oil fill tube. The engine oil in the engine is still full and very clean.

I haven't torn it down yet to see what exactly let loose. I'm assuming I either blew one of the head gaskets or cracked the block. This car was last dyno'd @530+ RWHP, so I know I'm on borrowed time with this block, especially being a blower car. I have two questions since this is the first stock block engine I've actually "blown up" and I didn't build this engine.

-Is there anywhere else on the block I should check for cracks other then the lifter valley? I also know about the cracking issues by the main caps, just not sure if I should be checking anywhere else for cracks.
-If the block is ok, would a move to head studs provide anymore clamping force to help prevent this from happening again or does the stock block flex that much they are of no help? I know the issue with the stock block and the flexing that can occur at these power levels, so I'm just curious if head studs would be anywhere worth it. Or if staying with regular head bolts and gaskets would provide a "fuse" to prevent other major damage from occurring (thinking detonation, cylinder pressures, ect).

I know my ultimate fix is to go to an aftermarket block, which is in the plans. Just want to get this thing back to running right now before I dedicate more time and money to the switch to an aftermarket. If the block is cracked, well, that makes my decision easy!
 
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General karthief

wonder how much it would cost to ship you a pair
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I would hope for a hose/ intake failure and the coolant hosed the ignition components, I say this because of the lack of coolant in the oil.
DISCLAIMER: this is not based on any actual mechanical experience with blower/turbo engines although I do own several jack stands.
 

John Dirks Jr

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That sucks! Did you ever have it dynoed? If so what kind of power was it putting down? And did you have a wideband to monitor AF mixture? A lean condition could be enough to push it over the edge.
 

Hoytster

I don't dare do that to my Knob
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I would hope for a hose/ intake failure and the coolant hosed the ignition components, I say this because of the lack of coolant in the oil.
DISCLAIMER: this is not based on any actual mechanical experience with blower/turbo engines although I do own several jack stands.
I like your imagination! Though I'm not to hopeful that's what I'm going to find...

That sucks! Did you ever have it dynoed? If so what kind of power was it putting down? And did you have a wideband to monitor AF mixture? A lean condition could be enough to push it over the edge.
The last dyno sheet I have for the car has it at 533 rwhp and 498 rwtq. That's from back in 2011. I didnt build this car but it had been run from 2006 - 2011 with this combo at consistent 10.49s toward the end. I just bought this car in July from a guy that had it since 2014 and used it only as a show car. No A/F guage on it (has every other guage), but I have one sitting on my bench because I was planning on converting the ecu over to megasquirt just for this reason. It has a chip tune right now with an MSD digital 6 for two step (on the transbrake) and rev control. Shifts are at 5800rpm.

This wouldn't be the first head gasket this car has seen. I have what appears to be every receipt back to 2001, and there are two head gaskets purchased, one in 2006 and the other in 2008.
 

2000xp8

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Block splitting or breaking the crank is usually pretty obvious, the bang is not forgettable. There would be no need for you to shut down the engine, because trust me, it stops on it's own.
I personally would not waste my time putting it back together in it's current configuration.
If somehow there is no block or rotating assembly damage, i'd at least detune it to like 450rwhp if you put it back together or you will be doing this again shortly.
 
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Hoytster

I don't dare do that to my Knob
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Block splitting or breaking the crank is usually pretty obvious, the bang is not forgettable. There would be no need for you to shut down the engine, because trust me, it stops on it's own.
I personally would not waste my time putting it back together in it's current configuration.
If somehow there is no block or rotating assembly damage, i'd at least detune it to like 450rwhp if you put it back together or you will be doing this again shortly.
It's definitely getting a Dart block in the near future, as that has been the plan before I purchased the car. Just exploring my options of the best way to get it up and running in it's current config until that happens since pushing a car around is kind of a PITA. This whole stock block thing was one point I made to get the price down on the car when I bought it. The short block was built back in 2004-2005 and has a forged and balanced crank, forged h-beam rods, and forged ross pistons. Why you wouldn't go aftermarket block at that time, I don't know. I'll probably pulley it down to 10lbs once it's back together either way but was really hoping to get at least one run down the track. The guy that raced it actually had it pulleyed for 16+ pounds when it was a stick car before he switched to the auto in 2009. This is usually how things go for me, which is why I overbuild things. If it can be broken, I will break it.
 

Hoytster

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Finally moved the car into the garage and pulled the intake off. The bottom intake came off wayyyyy too easy, and this is what I found:

20191111_163821.jpg


No question, definitely split the block. Looks like water pump is the only thing holding the front of the block together at this point. I'm curious to see how bad the rest of the block is and what might be able to be salvaged.
 

Hoytster

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Got to dig a little deeper today. Surprisingly, the rotating assembly spins overly freely (and smoothly) and everything I can see without pulling the engine appears to be in good condition. Just hoping I'll be able to get a few bucks for the bottom end parts.

And obviously the question about head studs is moot. This thing already had ARP studs with MLS gaskets.

cylinders.jpg
 
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John Dirks Jr

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Maybe those intake gaskets contributed to the demise of the block. Imbalanced or otherwise lean condition can cause excessively high cylinder pressure resulting in.....boom!
 

Hoytster

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Man that intake gasket looks nasty. Those must be the non steel ones.
The other side wasn't any better. Looks like where the coolant passages were, the gasket was getting gummy and was squeezing into the intake runners slightly. Nothing was port matched either, a couple runners had a fair amount of gasket intruding on the port.

Maybe those intake gaskets contributed to the demise of the block. Imbalanced or otherwise lean condition can cause excessively high cylinder pressure resulting in.....boom!
I was hoping to see more evidence of how she was running when I pulled the drivers side cylinder head off. Looks like everything got pretty well steam cleaned when the block split though. I'm going to get the other cylinder head off today and see how the passenger side is.
 

CarMichael Angelo

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I'd tell ya what I'd do.

You'll need at least three ratchet straps, and I'd get 2 strips of 36" long 1/8" aluminum strap ( 1.250 wide...a little extra margin for safety is'nt gonna hurt you here) Some 1/4" diameter long reach aluminum pop rivets, a roll of the blue paper towels that AZ sells, a couple of cans of brake clean, and 2 packets of JB weld "industrial strength" ( comes in a big assed tube,....its reeaalllyyy expensive ( like 20 bucks for the 2 tubes )). Finally you'll need a chain, and access to an engine hoist. 2 strong friends, a pickup, and a long stretch of deserted road.

You'll want to do this the right way,...no sense skrimping now...( Unless you want to do this all over again)

Then,...I'd scrape off all of the remaining old intake gaskets and get that mating surface as clean as possible on both the intake, and the head surface. Follow that up with a liberal doseage of brake clean. (Stuff the intake ports with blue paper towels, so there'll be no chance of junk getting into the head ports)

Next, clean that crack that runs the length of the lifter valley with brake clean. MOF, the whole lifter valley needs to be ABSOLUTELY free of any oil for this to work.
Once that's perfectly clean, stuff the lifter holes with blue towels.

Now, get a ruler, and measure the distance between the lifter bores....Record that. ( You'll need it for the next step)
Cut the aluminum strap into equal lengths, and pre-drill several holes in each one.
This next step is the tricky one, cause you gotta act a little quickly here.

Mix up one whole pkg of the JB Weld, and blob that stuff liberally into the long crack...Once the entire crack is coated, take the ratchet straps, and wrap three of them around the whole block and crank them bitches down....You'll see the crack close as you crank...which is the desired effect. . Once the crack is completely closed,...go get a beer.

You can't do nothing till the next day.

On the next day, remove the straps, and then take the aluminum straps you predrilled the day before, and lay as many as you can fit between the lifter bores ( perpendicular to the barely visible crack) Through-drill the holes into the cast iron lifter galley. Once you drill a hole, seal it shut with a pop rivet..( I woulda recommended using steel ones here to do this, but 1/4" steel rivets are a bitch to get to work, Aluminum ones work so much easier)
Go along drilling and riveting each hole in each strap until you've completely covered the valley with an impregnable layer of aluminum strap.

(That thing ain't going nowhere now)

Drain the oil, you'll wanna make sure that all of the cast iron shavings are out from the through drilling.

Now,...here's where you gotta make a judgement call, because you're gonna have to do something a little........unorthodox.
But, if you'll do it, you'll never have to worry about the intake manifold moving around, and causing those gaskets to look like ass ever again..

Take the other JB Weld kit, mix it up, and coat the sealing surfaces of the intake manifold and China walls with as much JB weld as you can blob on there. And bolt the lower intake back on. Be sure to crank down the intake bolts....and make sure that there is evidence of JB weld googe blobbing out everywhere water and oil could get out. ( Not gonna be a huge issue here really, but better safe than sorry)

The reason for putting the intake on permanently, is that it now serves as a " girdle" across the top of the engine to prevent further cracking. The down side is,..that intake ain't ever coming off again.

Go get more beers, and Let this thoroughly dry for at least 48 hours.

Two days later, call up your two friends, and get their help. ( You'll need some big dudes here)

Take the chain I listed in the above list, and bolt it across two holes in the top of the lower intake. This isn't really that important as to where you put them, as long as you get the bolts threaded in deeply enough so that the hoist can lift the
ENTIRE engine into the back of the pick up.

Put the engine into the back of the truck,...it's going on a little ride for the next step. Take the same ratchet straps you used earlier, and temporarily secure the engine from rolling around.

Choosing a good day weather wise is important here, cause you're two burly buddies gotta ride in the back of the truck with the engine.

Plan your route,...choose a path devoid of traffic, ( you'll thank me later.)

Once you're on your way, and you've found the right path, let your two friends know that they probably won't be able to hear you, and come up with a hand signal system so you won't have to scream over the 70 Mille an hour wind.

Next, and only after which you've confirmed that the stretch of road you're on is truly devoid of cars and pedestrians alike, give your buddies the first of two hand signals to lower the tail gate. ( or, if you've thought this through,..you will have already done that before starting off )
Next, have each of your buddies remove the two ratchet straps from the engine, and have them re- attach the straps to the center rear belt loops of their pants, as a safety precaution to prevent them from falling out of the truck.

Finally, Once you are absolutely certain that there are no cars behind you, and only after your two buddies are securely strapped into the bed of truck, give them the pre-designated hand signal to push that broken -assed piece of junk off the back of the truck.
 
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2Blue2

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The block cracked picture is really fun to see, it really sucks, but is fun to see. 530 at the tire is/was kick ass
The fact that it still turns over made me laugh.
Your my hero for the day!

Time to start a go fund me page to help pay the big dollars now needed to fix it.
 

CarMichael Angelo

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Thanks for that laugh Mike.

Needed that this morning as I'm pulling things apart thinking about how much money I'm going to have to spend to get this back together.
Tell me about it. I have the same chunk of cast iron sitting on my garage floor, only my cracks are between the cylinders.