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HALP! 95 Disco Oil Everywhere & Rough Running

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#1
AdvRovr

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My little brother has a 95 Disco 3.9 (OBDI) and called me because it was stalling when he would come to a stop, and he noticed a little smoking here and there. He took it to a general-purpose mechanic who read Code 48 on the code display and promptly told him his idle control valve was bad, but he didn't know if there were other problems since he didn't have the right computer to read the rest of the codes. 

 

I asked my brother if it drove fine as long as he wasn't coming to a stop and he confirmed it did, so I said "bring it on by" thinking I'd quickly confirm the IACV diagnosis and swap it out and send him on his merry way. 

 

Heh. 

 

No good deed goes unpunished. 

 

He pulls up and smoke is pouring out from the underside of the engine bay. I pop the hood and EVERYTHING from the valve covers down is absolutely covered in oil. I look underneath and there is an insane amount of blow-by. Then I look at the ground and realize he's dripping oil all over the street in front of my house. There must be at least 20 separate drip spots from him sitting there for about 3 minutes.

 

I turn it on to move it to the backyard so it's not dripping in front of my house, and the whole engine is shaking violently. It feels incredibly down on power and is running so rough I'm afraid to drive it beyond the block. It looks like the VCGs have totally let go, but I feel like maybe they were overpressurized? Bad PVC? I can't even find a PCV. It wasn't overfilled with oil that I could tell. Anything else that could cause both VCGs to spontaneously fail majorly? Or anything else that could let oil leak all around the engine and make it look like a VCG? 

 

I cleared the codes and 48 was the only one, but I think IACV is fine and just couldn't contend with whatever was causing it to run rough.

 

He's got to drive 50 miles from my house today and I don't want to send him off with it messed up. Any help you can give is greatly appreciated.


Edited by E36 Phantom, 01 November 2015 - 03:51 PM.

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#2
ndamico

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So where is it leaking from?

Nick

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#3
DHappel

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If there's that much oil everywhere are you sure it's coming just from the valve covers?

If you are pressuring the crankcase that much I suspect head gaskets. Can you do a compression test?

Graeme or Dan would be a lot more help on this than me I'm afraid.

Don
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#4
AdvRovr

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Valve covers are the highest point covered in oil. Everything below is literally covered so it may very well be leaking from other places, but I don't know either way. 

 

I'm getting puffs of air out of the passenger crankcase breather in time with what feels like one cylinder. Eek. 

 

The drivers side VCG is also leaking badly, but the oil cap is under vacuum when running so it's not being pressurized, which confuses me more as to why it would be leaking as bad if pressure were the cause. 


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#5
JeremyP

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Sounds like there might be catastrophic damage in there


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#6
DHappel

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Any updates?  Did you send him home or do you still have the truck?


Don
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#7
AdvRovr

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He got a ride home, I still have it. Can't do anything on it until Wed night.

Also, it was about 2qt low on oil and hasn't been changed in over 10,000 miles on conventional oil. He may be learning a very expensive lesson here about proper maintenance.

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#8
DHappel

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Given the way you described the leaks I'm not the least surprised it was low.  But I would expect scary noises if it was too low for too long and you didn't say anything about that so maybe the bottom end is OK.  Maybe.


Don
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#9
JFuller

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Just to be clear, the "mechanic" he took it to didn't say anything about billowing smoke and the Exxon Valdez slick he was leaving?

#10
AdvRovr

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Just to be clear, the "mechanic" he took it to didn't say anything about billowing smoke and the Exxon Valdez slick he was leaving?

That's correct. He will not be returning to that "mechanic" any more. Benefit of the doubt, there was a 50 mile drive between the mechanic and my house, so I won't discount that it worsened on the way over. But, the smoke is coming from oil burning off the exhaust and other hot components, and I know that was occurring when he took it in to the shop, which means oil must have been leaking rather significantly at the time he went to the shop. The mechanic mentioned the VCGs were leaking some, but said it was not urgent to replace them. My brother paid a $120 diagnostic fee for the pleasure, by the way. 

 

Also, to give you an idea, there are PUDDLES of oil on the top of the diff casing resting in the horizontal fins. Yeah, it's leaking a ton.


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#11
JFuller

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Nice. How do some people sleep at night.

#12
Great Gormless Beast

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The issue is reminiscent of our '87 RRC. Without warning it began bleeding oil from everywhere. Noticeable power drop. When you start with 150 bhp, anything can be noticed. Some roughness felt at idle. When I pulled the heads, the gaskets wer in sad shape. Gaskets changed, cleaned the oil spill, idled smoothie, & didn't leak. My worthless 2p.
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#13
DHappel

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The issue is reminiscent of our '87 RRC. Without warning it began bleeding oil from everywhere. Noticeable power drop. When you start with 150 bhp, anything can be noticed. Some roughness felt at idle. When I pulled the heads, the gaskets wer in sad shape. Gaskets changed, cleaned the oil spill, idled smoothie, & didn't leak. My worthless 2p.

 

I kinda feel the same, but will defer to the experts.


Don
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#14
AdvRovr

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Beast, help me understand that. I'm assuming it must have only been a breach in the gasket in one specific spot to allow combustion gases to contaminate the oil and it over pressurized the oil forcing it out? I was also thinking a blown ring on one cylinder could do the same thing.

The part I don't understand is the valve cover breather is under vacuum and loops back to the intake, so the intake plenum and TB should be soaked in oil well before the various oil seals blow, right? But they are perfectly clean.

Also, a bit of vindication for the "mechanic". My brother swung by my grandpa's house just before taking it to the shop as it had smoked a bit. My grandpa looked under the hood and listened to it run and it turns out it was running pretty well and smoothly then and only left one small drip in about 4 hours of being parked there. My grandpa is mechanically astute and would have known if it was doing anything like when it got to my house.

For reference, this is what was on my ground after 3 MINUTES of sitting there while being off.

Attached File  uploadfromtaptalk1446824398281.jpg   2.83MB   11 downloads

Chad // Instagram: @AdvRovr
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#15
DHappel

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Jeez....looks like Graeme's truck was there.   :lol:


Don
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#16
Great Gormless Beast

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Beast, help me understand that. I'm assuming it must have only been a breach in the gasket in one specific spot to allow combustion gases to contaminate the oil and it over pressurized the oil forcing it out? I was also thinking a blown ring on one cylinder could do the same thing.

The part I don't understand is the valve cover breather is under vacuum and loops back to the intake, so the intake plenum and TB should be soaked in oil well before the various oil seals blow, right? But they are perfectly clean.

Also, a bit of vindication for the "mechanic". My brother swung by my grandpa's house just before taking it to the shop as it had smoked a bit. My grandpa looked under the hood and listened to it run and it turns out it was running pretty well and smoothly then and only left one small drip in about 4 hours of being parked there. My grandpa is mechanically astute and would have known if it was doing anything like when it got to my house.

For reference, this is what was on my ground after 3 MINUTES of sitting there while being off.

attachicon.gifIMG_20151105_205723779.jpg

My apologies for the delay.   When I pulled one head, the gasket was shot/  It was, obviously, letting compression gasses into the crankcase.  There was signs of corrosion on the block, along with telltale signs of blowby for some time. Pressurized crankcase, pusked the oil pit of old / high mileage seals.  The valley had flaked, cooked oil on the surfaces.  Perfect example of a motor that had not been taken care of.  When I inspected it, the oil on the dipstick was clean.  First oil change, sludge oozed out.  The coolant reservoir had coolant.  That was the only place any could be found.  At the head servicing, the plenum / trumpets were black with oil. The flame trap was loaded with gooey oil.  Your photo is what I would find everywhere the  great gormless beast was parked. 

 

Cheers,

Steve



#17
AdvRovr

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Just a quick update. Colin confirmed that we have big problems. On the drivers side, we have 0 compression on one cylinder. They pressurized it on shop air and it came right back out the intake. Fun. They believe in addition to that it may be escaping into the crank case as well which would go along with my theory of combustion gases pressurizing the crank case. One other oddity- on the passenger bank, one of the middle cylinders was running extraordinarily lean and the other extraordinarily rich.

So, off to find another 3.9 for the Disco.

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#18
DHappel

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I thought one of the Disco Pair you picked up was a donor motor?


Don
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#19
Great Gormless Beast

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Just a quick update. Colin confirmed that we have big problems. On the drivers side, we have 0 compression on one cylinder. They pressurized it on shop air and it came right back out the intake. Fun. They believe in addition to that it may be escaping into the crank case as well which would go along with my theory of combustion gases pressurizing the crank case. One other oddity- on the passenger bank, one of the middle cylinders was running extraordinarily lean and the other extraordinarily rich.

So, off to find another 3.9 for the Disco.

 

 

Aside from the lean cylinders, sound the same as our '87 RRC. 



#20
DHappel

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Not sure what the rich/lean combo is, but the air out the intake is classic bad intake valve(s) and the pressurized crank case a failure of the head gasket.  Though I guess you already knew that.  Looks like a top-end rebuild at a minimum, and we know you can buy a running Disco for less than it would cost to have that done, much less a full rebuild.


Don
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