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Word to the wise

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by Dune, Jul 13, 2009.

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  1. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    Well I got one of these new fangled Chevys(1988) that only needs sparkplugs after 100,000 miles. So after I replaced them in 2002, I figured I was good for another 14 years. Sure enougth, just seven years and 34,000 miles later, the truck starts running rough. I'm thinking it can't possibly be the spark plugs since I just replaced em a few years back, so I brought it by my more mechanicly experienced freinds house for a listen. He checked the exhaust temperature at the different cylinders with an infrared device, and noted that the exhaust leaked so bad it was hard to hear much of anything. After I explained that there wasn't much point is fixing the leaks since it passed the anual inspection in spite of them, he suggested that most engines run better with new plugs in spite of what Government Motors claimed. I decided to replace the plugs, and since I'd have one end of the wire off, I'd replace the wires for good measure, and since the wires were off the cap, it wouldn't be much more work to replace the cap and seeing that the cap was off anyhow, I figured on replaceing the rotor too. Well, all those parts were so cheap at the store, I picked up some new oil and a filter and since I was doing all this preventitive type maintainence, I aquired a new air cleaner and a p.c.v. valve to boot. I kind of hated to waste the good oil that was in the crankcase, but even if it wasn't worn out yet, it was still pretty dirty after 34,000 miles, and a new oil filter is always a good thing. While I was at the parts store, I noticed I still had some checks left in my checkbook, so I bought an upper radiator hose too. The left bank of plugs came out fine, and all but one were in good shape. Happily noting that I had most likely cured the problem, I proceeded to the right bank. The first plug broke right off, but I was able to remove the remainders with a large easy out. The second plug was more cooperative, but the third one snapped, and left a good portion of insulator in the head. Needle nose pliars and the easy out resolved that situation, bringing me to the moral of the story, if you live near saltwater, alternate the direction in which you park, elsewise your spark plugs will not rust evenly.

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  2. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

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    Do you put a coat of Permatex or equivalent Anti-Seize on the threads when you replace the plugs? If not you should start, that's a trick that was taught to me by a seasoned Mechanic who helped me rebuild the engine on my Jeep a number of years ago. It pretty much guarantees the plugs won't seize to the heads and in fact helps even more on cars with aluminum heads. I usually use the silver high-temp compound but Copper works okay too.

    http://www.grainger.com/1/1/274248-...can-225-f-copper-metallic-mil-spec-a-907.html

    http://www.grainger.com/1/1/274246-...n-60-1600-silver-metallic-mil-spec-a-907.html

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000HBNVWQ

    I prefer the non-aerosol as there is less waste.
  3. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    34,000 miles on an oil change. Hmm. I guess if you're gonna treat your vehicle like that it really doesn't much matter where you live or how you park it, you prob'ly just need to plan on replacing it every 12 years or so. :p Your mention of the salt water reminded me of when I was in the Sea Scouts as a teenager (1960's). We had a nice 63' boat in Berkeley Harbor, and I spent a lot of my time there. Some folks lived on their boats in the harbor, and parked their cars along the breakwater that protected the harbor on the west from the San Fransico Bay. The west wind almost always was blowing in through the Golden Gate across the bay, and white caps and salt spray were the norm. The breakwater was narrow, so they could only park on one side, and they most always parked facing north. Some of those old Volvos and VW's and whatever they were hardly had anything remaining of their left sides after being parked for years directly exposed to the ever-present salt spray. Could't even tell what color some of them used to be. The right sides didn't look half bad on a few of them, though. Rick
  4. brad068

    brad068 Feeling the Heat

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    Guys, A great product for removing old stubborn spark plugs is Kroil. The local ford dealer said fomoco recommends the use of kroil in removing plugs out of the new ohc engines that also have them 100K plugs. It is expensive but does work very well. To me it smells like a mixture of diesel fuel and atf fluid.

    Spray on and let set for 30 min and stuff seems to turn right out.
  5. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    Thats exactly what I am talking about. Not only had the right side sparkplus rusted thru, but the right side quater rocker panel is suffering as well. In addition to parking the other way, I an going to have to bondo up my rocker panel, till I get a chance to weld in a new one.
    As to the frequency of oil changes, I considered taking a sample and sending it out for analysis, but feeling impulsive at the time, I decided to just replace it. You don't actualy think that oil ever degrades into something other than oil, do you?
  6. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    I have never heard of 100,000 mile spark plugs, especially in an '88. Doesn't sound like a good idea to me. I thought I was bad, changing mine every 25,000 although I have never had one break off in the motor. Could be on to something here! :)
  7. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    Of course it does. Especially in an internal combustion engine. Moisture and combustion byproducts will most certainly degrade the oil's capability to do its job over time, and increase the fluid's acidity. Wear products from the engine's internals are the icing on the cake. Filters are good things, but not perfect things. In our massive naval steam turbine engine systems, we had centrifugal purifiers integral with the lube oil systems that we ran pretty much continuously except for periodic cleaning. They removed water and particulate matter from the oil. Properly maintained, our oil would last many years...but an internal combustion engine is a different beast from a steam turbine...different temperatures and pressures, and our IC vehicles don't have sophisticated water separators and super-efficient filtration systems installed. I think periodic oil changes are important to the longevity of the engine. In our Navy diesel engines, periodic oil changes were part of our normal maintenance routine. How often depends on the severity of the service the engine is asked to deliver. Oil analysis is a good tool to use. Bondo sucks...fix it right or let it rot. Rick
  8. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    Maybe that is why it is called the Life Blood of the engine!
  9. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    Certainly the operating temp of the oil, 250F, boils out any moisture. if moisture were a problem, it would be a problem long before the 3000 mile recommended(by the oil companys) interval. My first Chevy went 360,000 miles on two oil changes. When I junked it, it was not because of engine wear, but a carberator heater or something that cost $700. The 120 oil changes I didn't do paid for the '88. I could tell you other stories, but you are obviously convinced already so I won't bother.
  10. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    I don't think it's so much moisture as it is grit and other particle's that escape the filtering system, not to mention break-down of the oil. I have heard stories from other Chevy truck owners with similar results from that era. My truck weighs 9,750 lbs. and a new engine costs around $9,000, I am not going to let something as cheap as motor oil be the reason I replace an engine due to ignoring the manufactures recommendation's.
  11. brad068

    brad068 Feeling the Heat

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    Did you at least change the filter at more frequent intervals. 360K is impressive on two oil changes. But then again you didn't tell us that you were probably adding a quart every 500 miles :p
  12. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    The point is that the oil doen't break down. Break down into what? It starts as oil and stays oil.
  13. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    Yep, I changed the filter both times that I changed the oil.
  14. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

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    reading this reminded me of a friend that is a mechanic. he used to say drive it like you hate it and you'll never have a problem. served him well. not from work but from the service that he would get from his vehicles including tow trucks.
  15. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

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    Oil degrades pretty significantly after 10k miles even a good synthetic as the detergents and additives that keep the solids suspended wear off, not to mention not changing the oil will eliminate any warranty you have on the drivetrain.
  16. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    To half the weight it was! It will be very runny after 4,000 miles compared to when it was put in the engine. I thought you were just kiddin around at first. WOW!
  17. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    Agreeing to disagree. You are up late tonight.
  18. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

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    The research shows the engine oil life is finite. You may have had good luck with one car, but that does not dispell 80+ years of research on the subject. If you consider you car a throw-away item or live in areas where the salt will get the car before the engine life will, then that's your perogative. Where I live it's common for 35+ year old cars still to be on the road and being used and changing your oil is a benefit.

    My 1976 Volvo 240DL that had 640,000 miles and didn't consume more than a quart every 3500 miles is a testament to what changing your oil and filter every 5k miles will do. I sold the car for 500 Bucks when I bought my Jeep.

    http://www.carbibles.com/engineoil_bible.html
  19. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    I really never should have mentioned the oil thing. Public perception is just too strong, and there is no point. When I ran large expensive heavy diesels, I had the oil anilysed regularly. Those engines cost between $75,000 to $250,000, quite a different thing than a 350 chevy. I can tell you about an engine with 45,000 hours on it, with out ever having an oil change though. For those not familar with engine hours, that is aproximately one million miles.
  20. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    As are you, so nor will I. Rick
  21. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

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    It has nothing to do with public perception but rather with established engineering, chemistry and science. Not changing your oil WILL shorten your engine life, especially on a modern engine with higher temperatures and tighter tolerances.

    You can get as much as 20-25k on an oil change if you get your oil analyzed and change the filter more often.

    You said oil doesn't become any other than oil Dune, but that's not true, it breaks down into several components, none of which have the lubricating qualities of the base oil.
  22. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    When you dissolve "stuff" into water, the boiling point rises just like mixing antifreeze with water in your radiator raises the boiling point. Also, the engine oil is not at 250 for very long at all due to short trips and normal driving conditions.

    The oil doesn't go away, it just gets contaminated. It can be cleaned and reused infinitely. Kinda like toilet paper.
  23. gpcollen1

    gpcollen1 Minister of Fire

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    JUst how much do you think an oil change costs?? I do mine for $30 every 10k. So now at 170K I have done it 17 times at a grand old cost of $510.
  24. mbokie5

    mbokie5 New Member

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    Hey Tonter, what jeep do you have?

    I've got a '54 Willys station wagon that I'll be hauling home pretty soon.

    Had it since the early 70s. Paid $1200 for it. Drove it to Franklin N.J. back in 1980 to consult with a jeep expert. Put on free wheeling hubs and drove it for a while. Decided to put it away until I could afford to fix it up the way I wanted it. That time is near.
  25. quads

    quads Minister of Fire

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    Great story! I love it. Having been the manager of an auto parts store for many years, all I can say is that if it works it's certainly not the strangest maintenance schedule I've ever heard of. Don't fix anything that isn't broken.
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