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Old 08-11-2011, 02:00 AM
jayton4 jayton4 is offline
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James Ayton
Change 4.6L rod bearings with engine still in vehicle? 02 Explorer

The low oil pressure switch tripped about a mile from home. Checked oil level and it was good, made it home with the engine stalling once, low oil pressure continued switching on and off, and the engine started to make more noises as I came into my driveway that fluctuated with the rpms regardless of whether there was a load on the engine nor if it was in neutral.

I changed the oil & filter, and put in a new oil pressure switch. The truck started up fine and idled fine. The oil pressure light was off for about 2 minutes while it was running. Then the light began to flicker and then stayed on solid. If I very lightly touched the accelerator, it would go back off. So the amount of pressure being pumped is way down. The regular everyday rattling noises seemed to get louder than usual.

I suspect oil pump, and it will be a couple of days before I will be able to obtain a real oil pressure gauge. By this time, I have already seen enough without the gauge to know that I have a real problem here. So I dropped the pan and this is what I found:

Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.

There is not a trace of sludge on the pickup tube, as I am pretty meticulous about oil changes. Only shiny metal flakes. Like silver glitter, very finely ground into a sandy dust. It does not seem to be magnetic, which I would guess to be bearing material.

Is it possible to change the rod bearings with the engine still in the vehicle? I do not currently have access to a cherry picker. I already have everything off the front of the engine, and will have the valve covers and timing cover pulled by tomorrow. I have the tools needed to easily drop the drive shaft and transmission as well as removing the flywheel to clear everything off of the back.

Would I be able to detect rod bearing damage by pulling main caps off the bottom and inspecting?

So far I have purchased or ordered the following for the job: Melling Oil Pump, Felpro timing cover gasket, Ford dealer crankshaft pulley bolt, the specialty Ford camshaft tools (OTC 6009 and 6020).

Every single thread on this topic on most forums seem to say to give up and swap engines from a junkyard or a remanufacturer. I do not have those kind of funds, as junk yard engines start around $2100 for the ones that don't say already broken or burnt. The rebuilt engines are in the range of $2800-3200. Racking up a ton of labor hours does not matter to a shadetree and I don't mind taking a big puzzle apart and then putting it back together. I am not in a panic or rush to get this done the quickest and easiest way possible. I have a backup car available and I need this to be done the cheapest possible way.

Are there any particular tips and tricks I should know about? What should I do about timing? Some things I read say put it at TDC and place the cam holders in. Others say line up the marks after turning the crank keyway to 12 o'clock so that the engine is in its "safe zone," where cams can be rotated freely without risk of valves touching pistons.

What else do I need on my shopping list? Timing chain guides? Front and rear oil seal?


Engine History:
-Currently has 185,006 miles, bought it in 2006 with 105,000 miles and up until recently, it has been the most trouble-free engine I have ever owned in my life.
-First problem was around 176,000 miles, 10 months ago. Hesitation on acceleration and idle, misfire codes on cyl 5 & 6. The valve cover gasket leaked oil in and gunked up the plugs. Cleaned it out, put in new plugs, boots, valve cover gaskets. All was well.
-Second problem was just 3 months ago in April when the rearward catalytic converter became clogged. I got a direct-fit replacement bolt-in y pipe and 3 cats from Eastern Catalytic to replace the factory unit. This thing looks like it was welded together by high school students completing there first class project in shop class. There are a couple of exhaust leaks in the new system. It is definitely the get-what-you-paid-for game when it comes to exhaust. If it ever happens again on a future vehicle, I'll hope I'll be able to afford the Magnaflow.
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Old 08-11-2011, 02:10 AM
firebug_thekid firebug_thekid is offline
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you can inspect the rod bearings, but chances are if your rod bearings are that bad, your crank sustained some damage as well... if the crank journals are scrached or gooved, i wouldnt even try new bearings, they will end up the same way in a short period of time. you could buy a new crank, but at that expence you could probably find a motor on craigs list or another site... they want that much at a scrapyard for that motor? i would shop around... If you decide to go with new bearings, torque your caps down on some plasti-gauge and see if you get the right reading...
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Old 08-11-2011, 07:38 PM
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The mains are where your pressure loss came from.

Also, looks to me like the rod to the right of the pick-up screen in the picture is broken. 5th one down from the top.
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Old 08-12-2011, 07:51 AM
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#1-DO NOT use that Melling oil pump. The gearset in the pump is not of the proper hardness,and will manage to eat itself in 15-20K miles-ruining the engine. I've been there once already. The OEM pumps are the best to have on a modular, unless you want to get one of the very few quality "billet" gearsets to use in the OEM pump body.
#2-you have some issues there,and IMO-you've got damage to the cylinder head cam bores if you have that much metallic trash in the pan. The cams are at the end of the lubrication circuit, and are the first thing damaged when oil pressure drops.
JL
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Old 08-12-2011, 08:09 AM
jayton4 jayton4 is offline
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Thank-you for the replies.

You guys have made me realize that I need to actually figure out where my failure occurred before I start worrying about how I'm going to change some certain part out some certain way.

Lxman1: Looking at it again, I think that is how the oil dripped off, and the metal dust is kind of collected in a line of both the 5th & the 6th rods.

It turns out that some of the material in the oil pan is magnetic.
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Old 08-12-2011, 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by jayton4 View Post

It turns out that some of the material in the oil pan is magnetic.
Which I think you'll find are both crank and camshaft.
JL
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Old 08-12-2011, 12:43 PM
jayton4 jayton4 is offline
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So is there any possibility that I can just change out the oil pump and get a few more years life out of it as it is?
If the mains caused the pressure drop, is it possible that my oil pump didn't go bad?
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Old 08-12-2011, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayton4 View Post
So is there any possibility that I can just change out the oil pump and get a few more years life out of it as it is?
If the mains caused the pressure drop, is it possible that my oil pump didn't go bad?
To get to the oil pump, you have to remove the front timing cover which involves removing the cam covers. At that point, you can inspect the cams and the cam journals to verify if they're damaged or not.
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Old 08-12-2011, 01:48 PM
85e150six4mtod 85e150six4mtod is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayton4 View Post
So is there any possibility that I can just change out the oil pump and get a few more years life out of it as it is?
If the mains caused the pressure drop, is it possible that my oil pump didn't go bad?
What about that rod that looks broken?

With material other than bearing material being shed, you may be able to get a few more hours out of this engine, but not years.
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Old 08-12-2011, 02:57 PM
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I'll be willing to bet the chain guides are ate up and the chains are digging into the aluminum guides. You need to pull the front cover and inspect the guides. The rod and main bearings COULD be ok.(notice the emphasis on could) Pull the timing cover, both valve covers, a few cam caps, and a rod cap(needs new rod bolts, they are torque to yield) and take some photos to post here.
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Old 08-12-2011, 06:55 PM
jayton4 jayton4 is offline
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Alright! Thanks a lot guys. I will be back with pictures requested.
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Old 08-16-2011, 11:10 PM
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I had time to work on it today. Everything under the valve covers and behind the timing cover looks clean. It appears to be coming from the bottom. I will get the pictures posted soon.
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Old 08-17-2011, 04:39 PM
jayton4 jayton4 is offline
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Ford SOHC V8 Engine Failure pictures by jamesayton - Photobucket

Ok, here are the pictures. Everything looks fine except for the one rod that you guys say looks broken in the first picture. I several more shots of this particular rod from a couple of different angles. There is definitely an accumulation of metal specks there more than anywhere else I have found in the engine. Timing chain guards look good and camshafts look good.



What do you guys think? What should I do now? Pull the caps on those two rods there that appear to lead to where the problem is coming from?
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Old 08-17-2011, 08:36 PM
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Thanks for the extra pics. go ahead and pull them and check the crank. I would be afraid that all of the debris has spread thru the engine and that it should be torn down and hot tanked and cleaned, but that's just me.
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Old 08-23-2011, 07:49 AM
jayton4 jayton4 is offline
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I will not be tearing this engine down to be hot-tanked and cleaned. If I do end up getting this thing to work again, I would be doing multiple oil change flushes to clean it out.

I only have about 1 day per week that I can spend working on this thing, and I am starting to consider an engine swap. There is a Mustang salvage yard really close by to where I live that has complete 01-04 SOHC engines out of wrecked Mustangs for $1500. I would be switching from an aluminum block to iron, and I would need to figure out how to get around the 2 knock senders Vs. 1 knock sender issue.

Seems to be the best deal going anywhere around here: 01-04 FORD MUSTANG 4.6L V8 GT ENGINE
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Old 08-23-2011, 07:49 AM
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