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Thread: They told me E30s were played out

  1. #101
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    Some copy paste update over from r3v, just to have a documentation of this turd on here as well.

    I wouldn't rule out something hitting the scraper, it does make sense. Still the question remains - why all of a sudden? Sure, I can drop the pan and check it out, but need to find the root cause. Prematurely and severely worn rod bearing(s) causing the rod(s) to move around? Why would it fail so early and why does the oil pressure stay high despite? Just questions for me to think on.

    Also, there was some new development yesterday eve.

    A friend of mine bought a small LED USB camera and called me immediately, he picked it up in my area. We went ahead and stuffed it into the cylinders and sure enough - valve to piston contact.
    We took the timing covers off and did find the belt to be a bit loose, but the timing marks still line up perfectly. Adjusted the tensioner, belt is now as tight as it should be - marks still line up perfectly good.
    Here comes the weird part. We rotated the nuke to retard the cam about 4 degrees, assembled all the stuff and started the car for about 3 seconds. Noise was LOUDER and now with higher frequency. Returned the nuke gear to zero, started again - a bit better but still there.

    Now the question is - why did this engine cover over 3000 kms without making valve to piston contact and start doing it after a hot oil event? Both things seem to not be connected. Is it possible that the belt stretches under any load, even idling and causing the valve-piston contact, but returning to normal when engine is inop? That seems sci-fi to me, but has anyone encountered that?

    I really don't want to reassemble the engine without finding the cause of this crap.

    Another thing that comes to mind - the woodruf key on the crank sproket potentially could have failed, causing the timing mark to align, but the crank would be on the incorrect position.

    What I intend to do next is rotate the cam gear in the opposite direction, start briefly and if it doesn't knock/rattle, I'll check compression numbers and take it from there. Definitely will check the woodruf key on the crank sprocket, but if anyone has some other pointers, would be happy to read them.

    Disclaimer: No pictures of car, until problems taken care of.
    "You could roll an E30 in a BMW showroom today and people would think:
    Well, they finally got the 1 series right!"

    3.0 L e30 ground up build

  2. #102

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    Check if the sprocket is lined properly by finding TDC with the old screwdriver-into-plug hole method, if it is and valves contact pistons I'd think you have too tall of cams? Makes no sense tho

    Edit: jammed hydro lifters may be a thing?
    Last edited by Fruttolo; 09-19-2019 at 07:11 AM.

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  3. #103
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    It is something to think about, but dbilas claim this is a sports cam, not rally or circuit racing, and hence no additional valve clearance needed. In fact, according to the cam sheet, 1.2mm is the minimum, 2mm is the safe zone. Mine was 2.2mm so .. should be good, but who knows.
    I will check it for a piece of mind though.
    So the list with stuff to check before making any drastic disassembly moves looks like this:

    Check if woodruf key is kaput - either by Fruttolo's suggested method or just take it apart
    Check if belt is stretching - by ... magic I suppose, need to think how I can safely do that.

    IN OTHER NEWS, SOME PLOT TWIST:

    Turns out I didn't retard the engine, but myself.

    Using my memory of yesterday eve and the below link as reference, I was a dumbass and advanced the engine instead of retarding it.

    https://help.summitracing.com/app/an...ing-a-camshaft

    Attached is an image of what I think I did.

    retard.jpg

    Guess joke is on me. Hopefully my stupidity will help someone in the future.

    Will get back to the car and turn the other way to see if that cures it and take it from there.
    "You could roll an E30 in a BMW showroom today and people would think:
    Well, they finally got the 1 series right!"

    3.0 L e30 ground up build

  4. #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by gnmzl View Post

    Disclaimer: No pictures of car, until problems taken care of.

  5. #105
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    Yep, you guessed it - still no pictures, since mystery still not solved.

    I had exactly one month to chase down this devil, here's a recap of what happened:

    First and foremost I did a leakdown test, I had to buy the tool to do it. I did it twice for each cylinder just to be sure. All were below 15% leakage, which I hardly could believe, yet again the engine ran under 5 seconds with the advanced nuke gear. So the test showed all valves are seating good enough.
    Next order of business was taking off the oil pan - what a pain with a scraper and a baffle.
    Oil looked mint, not even the slightest debri in it, when I filtered it through the finest painter's filter.
    No heat discoloration either on rods or crank, no play in any rod or whatever I could reach in there.
    There was e tiny little smidge on the scraper, where a rod bolt had touched it ever so lightly. So small, the camera wouldn't catch it. Ok, so off with the scraper. Assembled everything, poured the oil back in and fired it up. Still clacking, right from the start, same noise again temperature independent but RPM dependent, sounds like only one element is hitting another once per revolution.
    Next up - discovered a tiny play in the crank sprocket, so small it was unnoticable from above the engine, only when the car was on the lift could we spot it.
    From a spare m20 - pristine sprocket with the woodruf key to go with it and the play was gone. Fire it up - same noise.

    Listening at it again reveals the following:
    From above: more pronounced between cyl 2 and 4
    From beneath: more pronounced between cyl 5 and 6, but only if you listen without a screwdriver or similar to the pan. Screwdriver to pan says it's everywhere .....
    Removing the alu cover in front of the trans and below the pan makes the sound more pronounced.
    Flywheel doesn't have any play, but does have some slight oil drippings, that are spread by the centrifugal force starting from the flywheel bolts.

    Now, what I am thinking - since those drippings are on the side, which faces the front of the car, is it possible, that the bolts have backed out and cause this rattle/clatter? I used brand new OEM units and torqued them down to spec, but you never know.
    Otherwise the only thing that comes to mind is go back to the head and check every rocker arm, also warm up the engine and fire it up with the head cover off.

    Any pointers are welcome.
    "You could roll an E30 in a BMW showroom today and people would think:
    Well, they finally got the 1 series right!"

    3.0 L e30 ground up build

  6. #106

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    Don't start it with no rocker cover or you're gonna wash your car and face in oil LOL
    Flywheel bolts could back out if no locktite is used (happened to me on my freshly rebuilt and torqued to spec mk1 trans) but it would rattle considerably less or at least differently when clutch is depressed, and it's independent from oil drips, that's main seal territory. Does your engine have a separate "rear main seal plate" attached with bolts to the block? If it has, maybe those bolts have backed out slightly causing oil drips and touching the flywheel? Still pretty unusual, just flowing thoughts.

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  7. #107
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    I know it'll be an oil bath, but I'll live with that and clean everything really well after that.
    As stated, OEM flywheel bolts were used, they come with something that does the loctite job, cannot recall the name right now. But you are correct - engaging or disengaging the clutch has no influence on the rattle.
    The m20 does have a separate rear main seal plate and yes I thought about it - stuck a small camera in there and all bolts were where there should be, no marks on the flywheel either.
    Guess I'll have to do a round table with all the m20 gurus I can get in touch with. Which are ... maybe two people.
    I **** this car.
    "You could roll an E30 in a BMW showroom today and people would think:
    Well, they finally got the 1 series right!"

    3.0 L e30 ground up build

  8. #108
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    That is too bad about the rattle. I really hope you do find it... cant stand engines that tick, rattle, or knock. Drives me mad. Can't wait to see what it was when you finally find it.

  9. #109
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miroteknik View Post
    That is too bad about the rattle. I really hope you do find it... cant stand engines that tick, rattle, or knock. Drives me mad. Can't wait to see what it was when you finally find it.
    Yes, I am the same! Even if it's an innocent noise, that doesn't threaten to disintegrate the engine, I still chase it down.
    Be sure, I will post when/if I find it and also share what revenge was executed over it.
    "You could roll an E30 in a BMW showroom today and people would think:
    Well, they finally got the 1 series right!"

    3.0 L e30 ground up build

  10. #110
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    Hello everyone still on StanceWorks!

    Happy to report finally found the bastard making that annoying clatter in the engine

    I got laid off just after my last post on this topic, so working on chasing this down was put off naturally.
    After squaring stuff out, last Wednesday evening was the night of truth - I was a crusader set on a mission: either find out what's wrong or don't go home!

    Whoever says you need to disconnect the water radiator to remove the cam while head/engine is in the car, send them this pic. E30 specific statement of course.



    I resorted to trying this, because I failed to find a suitable container to capture the coolant. Thought we had one in the shop, but it went missing.
    What I had to do is, besides the obvious removal of clutch fan, fan shroud, cam sprocket etc. was remove the coolant hose clamp located on the frame rail intake side, remove the inner fender (early models have this protruding into the engine bay lower inner fender) and make sure the jeesus bolt doesn't jam up against the radiator fins. I used a plastic bottle cap, tight enough to stay on there while turning the crank and shallow enough to allow for a 22mm wrench to fit onto the bolt.
    In my case, the 16" SPAL was in the way, but thankfully upon initial install, I made my life easy with some simple brackets and these handy wing nuts.




    These shot portrait better how much room I had to play with




    Just enough, so I went ahead and started removing the rocker shafts.
    Intake side one was REALLY hard to remove. Like, so hard, I had to take my time and remove it in a total of 4 hours, being careful not to mar the head casting in any way.
    Very much worth mentioning is that it was twisted to the side, resulting in the key allowing it to move forward from it's originally intended position in the head. Keep this in mind for later in that post
    It was really difficult at times, given the limited space and leverage I had. In the end, it came off and so did the exhaust side shaft (so much easier), followed by the cam itself.

    Needless to say, the culprit was found, I'll let the pictures do the talking for me. Below are the cam lobes and the corresponding rocker arm above them.








    Sure, all of the rockers have some sort of weird wear pattern. But that number 3 exhaust rocker ...... never seen anything like that wear patter.

    So, now the only thing left not inspected are the shafts.
    Previously I stated the following on r3v:

    Quote Originally Posted by gnmzl;n9882311
    ...As stated, they looked legit aside of that length issue. Holes and retaining slots were spot on. Well, I guess we'll find out soon enough, really hope this endeavor will help someone in the future.
    This statement is wrong.



    Pictures don't really show it well, but the holes are not perfectly matched and neither are the rocker positions. True, the misalignment is small enough to not cause any issues.
    Granted they stay in place and not rotate or slide about.

    Here is my thoughts on what happened, please feel free to correct me if you think I'm daydreaming and have a more serious problem:

    Since the intake valves were kissing the pistons ever so slightly, the pressure from that event goes into the rocker pivot point and that is the rocker shaft. The intake shaft get slightly bent (hence the difficult removal) and also rotated and slid forward. Combined with the slightly misaligned oil holes on the shaft, this leads to not enough oil pressure for the spray bar on top of the cam. Oil starvation occurs and all rockers and cam lobes suffer damage. Exhaust rocker on number 3 suffers the most for some reason, assuming my valve lash adjustment was out of spec on this one, and it causes the clatter.

    So ... ok, cause of weird rattle found. Now I need to make sure it never happens again.
    By chance, a brand new set of IE HD rocker arms is sitting in my closet. It was a deal you can't say no, so I grabbed them about a year ago.
    A set of OEM rocker shafts is also in my closet, ordered one as soon as I saw the comments on r3v they were again available.
    Now what i think doing is:

    - Polish the pads on the new set of rocker arms.
    - Talk to a reputable machinist to see if the cam is salvageable.
    - If cam is kaputt, buy a new one and have the lobes polished as well, or polish them myself (I'll have a spear cam to train on lol )

    I wonder how to make sure I get oil flow to the correct places before that.
    How stupid is the idea of removing the timing belt and spark plug and give it a few revs via starter? In theory shouldn't do harm, but it seems to me like a stupid idea and genius at the same time.

    Any input will be greatly appreciated.

    Moral of story: walks like a duck, talks like a duck, chances are it is a duck.
    Last edited by gnmzl; 12-20-2019 at 08:07 AM.
    "You could roll an E30 in a BMW showroom today and people would think:
    Well, they finally got the 1 series right!"

    3.0 L e30 ground up build

  11. #111

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    I don't necessarily have anything constructive to add on the cause or solution, other than that checks out to me. Given the circumstances, I could see it being a chain reaction. Either way, glad to hear you've identified the problem!

  12. #112

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    +1 on what he said

    I'll for sure steal the duck thing, love little sayings like that

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  13. #113
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    Happy New Year everyone!


    Quote Originally Posted by bwwaaaa View Post
    I don't necessarily have anything constructive to add on the cause or solution, other than that checks out to me. Given the circumstances, I could see it being a chain reaction. Either way, glad to hear you've identified the problem!
    Yeah, the more I think about it, the more it makes sense to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fruttolo View Post
    +1 on what he said

    I'll for sure steal the duck thing, love little sayings like that
    Feel free to use it, I stole it from a gangster movie anyway

    Let's continue this ordeal.
    Here are some topics that I think on, your input is welcome on any of those

    1. I called around and talked to a reputable guy involved in rally racing teams around here and he says there isn't such a place in our country that can salvage the camshaft or polish the rocker pads.
    Polishing the new set of rocker arms would make sense to me and I would do it myself, but I was told that needs to be done square and not to make the finish too smooth.
    My question is - what is meant by "don't make the finish too smooth" Is that possible? Pending answer from the person who shared that with me as well.

    2. I am contemplating on getting a different cam. Here is the camsheet of the dbilas unit that was in the engine, the one from the above pictures.



    It is a bit different than advertised in their catalog, difference being max lift is supposed to be 11.5 and valve lift 2.8 but according to the camsheet it's 11.1 and 2.6 respectively.

    https://dbilas-shop.com/motor-ventil...nwelle?c=15814

    I'd say I trust the camsheet, since the cam was bought through a re-seller and they may have had the older cam version in stock or just misadvertised the one in stock. Not sure, but I would trust the camsheet that came with the cam. Thoughts on that?

    The cam I am currently eyeballing is the catcams 291

    http://www.catcams.com/products/cams...nguage=english

    The way I see it, please correct me if I'm wrong:
    The catcams cam will sacrifice a bit lift at TDC, which in turn will reduce the possibility of another valve-piston contact. In the same time it has more max lift, which should compensate for the smaller lift at TDC. The bigger lobe separation will give me a slightly better idle.
    What I can't figure out is how it would affect the powercurve. Dynosheet prior to rocker failure, in case you forgot:



    3. What about adding an oil additive - currently I'm eyeballing the Liqui Moly Molygen Motor Protect product. It's supposed to create a thin "deformable" layer on the engine rotating surfaces. Anyone have any experience with that and/or comments?

    https://www.trodo.com/engine-oil-add...-motor-protect

    I know this isn't a technical discussion forum, but I like to get all sorts of opinions before making my decision.
    "You could roll an E30 in a BMW showroom today and people would think:
    Well, they finally got the 1 series right!"

    3.0 L e30 ground up build

  14. #114
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    Great write-up and photos, glad to see you've found the issue. Hope someone can answer your questions about the polish, camshaft options and oil additive, cause I can't. Looking forward to the next updates.

  15. #115
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    Hello people,

    I figured this thread is due for an update.
    Here's what has been going on recently:

    First thing I wanted to do was to make sure I didn't mess up the P to V clearance measurement the first time around, when I was assembling the engine. That piston to valve contact I had found earlier was bugging me big time.

    Slapped a 3.0L crank in a stripped m20b27 block, put in a conrod and the prototype piston we used when plotting out the engine with some clay on top, torqued down a cracked head with valves, slid in my ruined dbilas cam with two brand new IE Rockers, timed it and rotated the crap out of it. Then took the head off again to check P to V clearance.
    I did this four times - twice with the cam wheel to zero, twice with 5 degree retardation. Sure enough - Intake 2,2mm clearance with the camwheel on zero, 2.6mm with the cam retarded 5 degrees. Exhaust has the opposite, 2.6mm on zero, 2.2 on 5 degree retarded. That's with 0.25 clearance on the rocker.

    Another piece of bad news: my second set of IE rockers is obviously not up to spec. I popped two rockers out the package to measure the cam as someone on r3v explained, but the part where the eccentrics go in is so tight, I could barely make them fit and adjustment was a real pain with the nut and bolt fully loose. And one out of the two has a casting imperfection on it.

    Here's the imperfection I am concerned about. That's one of my brand new IE rockers, never used set.




    Here's a short video of how tight they are compared to the other set I used up until now in the engine.
    Note, that the eccentrics were bought brand new from a BMW dealer, I tried this with a used set too and the result was the same.
    In the video, the rocker I take out the eccentric of is one of the ones that got damaged with the cam and I unpack one from the brand new set, just to prove a point it hasn't been messed with.

    https://vimeo.com/389922493

    As you can see, that's VERY tight, I can barely fit the eccentric in it.
    Even if I shoot out an email to IE, I doubt that they would refund or do anything about it. These were purchased back in 2015 by a friend's brother in the States, then shipped over here to another friend, who held on to them until he decided he wasn't building his m20 and sold them off to me in the original unopened package. It was different from the one I received my other ones in, but both sets were bought directly from IE. My original set came in a big plastic bag, which was then hot pressed over each individual rocker, you can see it in the only picture I have from back then



    These rockers were all packaged separately in plastic bags which in turn were all thrown together in a big plastic bag.

    Another piece of "great news": While doing research on m20 oil starvation in the head, I stumbled upon this topic in a German forum:

    https://e30-talk.com/topic/108333-kl...-m20b27-video/

    Post number 6 contains the important pictures. Long story short - the Schrick cam the guy used has the oil grooves on the back of it set off to the side about 2.5mm, blocking half of the oil passage for the spray bar as a result.

    As panic settled in, I rushed to the workshop the same evening to check if this could be true for aftermarket cams overall.
    Guess what?

    This is my dbilas 292 (take a good look of the hole in the center of the picture, the groove is only half visible, kinda hard to see)



    This is a catcams 304 I have access to.



    As you can see, the dbilas is set off towards the front of the car and the catcams is set off in the other direction, both not exactly on spot.
    I am yet to hear from Schrick and one of their re-sellers if this issue has been corrected since that German guy and at least one more German guy I found after that reported it to them.

    Next, I wanted to get back to the topic of Piston to Valve clearance, as the results I got from the mockup engine were telling me the valve should not kiss the piston, even if the belt is loose, as long as it doesn't skip a tooth (which it hadn't)
    So I discovered the great world of a method called solder wire P to V check. Here's what I did
    First off, I made several identical pieces of 3mm thick solder wire, using one of the cracked heads laying around.




    Then I cut up a ruined old rocker shaft and used the good part of it to make this jig. Clearance



    Stuck the solder wires in the spark plug hole and here are the results

    Cylinder 3, cam wheel retarded 4 degrees



    Cylinder 1, again 4 degrees retarded




    Now Cylinder 1 with zero degrees on the cam wheel



    Aha! Finally some real results that correspond with reality
    Either one or both of the below statements can be true

    1. The pistons were not machined 0.25 more as I thought they are, in fact the machinist may have understood to leave 0.25 more.
    2. My head and block were skimmed a bit more than I asked

    That will make it much more easier to have piston to valve contact when the cam wheel is set to zero (which it was, up until when I started troubleshooting the engine), in the event of a loose timing belt. Which occurred for some reason, I suspect i didn't tighten the tensioner good enough.
    Either way - all of the events described previously and in this post plus user error for letting these happen has lead to premature cam and rocker failure.

    To remedy this, I will buy a new Schrick 288 camshaft once I get a verification from them that the groove problem was solved.

    Let's top it off with another piece of bad news.
    Yesterday eve, when I was at the workshop and had nothing further to troubleshoot, I decided to try and mount my mtech 1 sideskirts finally. Turns out they are warped and don't fit on the car even loosely. Not sure what I'll do about that yet, but needless to say I'm soooo pissed off right now.

    Till next time.
    "You could roll an E30 in a BMW showroom today and people would think:
    Well, they finally got the 1 series right!"

    3.0 L e30 ground up build

  16. #116
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    Holy crap I love the solder wire trick. wow.

  17. #117

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    Solder trick is...well, trick

    I am in disbelief about how poorly those cams are machined, how can they have missed a hole by 2/3mm in a part that's supposed to be super precise to the .00??

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  18. #118
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miroteknik View Post
    Holy crap I love the solder wire trick. wow.
    Right? I felt so enjiner while doing that



    Quote Originally Posted by Fruttolo View Post
    Solder trick is...well, trick

    I am in disbelief about how poorly those cams are machined, how can they have missed a hole by 2/3mm in a part that's supposed to be super precise to the .00??
    Same here man, and that's obviously with all the reputable brands. For the record, I still don't have a reply by Schrick about this. Their official reseller also hasn't replied yet.
    Currently thinking about just ordering one from the cheapest vendor and machining it myself.
    "You could roll an E30 in a BMW showroom today and people would think:
    Well, they finally got the 1 series right!"

    3.0 L e30 ground up build

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