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Engine horror stories


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  #1  
Old 11-12-2006, 11:23:25 PM
Scott Wenrich Scott Wenrich is offline
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Default Engine horror stories

Hi all.Well i guess i didn't learn from my near disaster with my wr-6.I recently aquired a lauson LMC and with a little tinkering i got brought her back to life,albeit briefly.After about ten minutes or so i noticed the engine developed a pretty loud knock.Let it cool down then checked the oil.Was full.Tonight i decided i better yank the sump and to my dismay,i found the oil slinger in the bottom! What makes it more disturbing is that i believe what i found was someone's 'invention' for a slinger.I believe it would have been cast with the connecting rod originally.The motor never locked up so i guess i can count my blessings with that one.Now i have to find the parts to do a rebuild on her.Hopefully that won't take too long.Cute li'l motor too! Smaller than a 5s. Has anyone else had near disasters to share?

Scott
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Old 11-12-2006, 11:45:30 PM
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Default Re: Engine horror stories

I think we all probably have one or two horror stories. Mine was years ago when distraction and stupidity caused me to forget to put oil back in after draining the sump on my 210 John Deere. It didn't get too far down the lane before it started screeching in pain. I instantly had a bad feeling and knew what it was.

I'm proud to say that this engine hobby knowledge allowed me to tear it down (10HP electric start Kohler) and put a new rod in it myself. The crank was fine, but the rod appeared to be made of aluminum or some alloy and the rod IS the bearing. All installed now and I still have the tractor, but working on a 10HP engine like that is a handful of iron!
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Old 11-13-2006, 12:05:34 AM
Andrew Mackey Andrew Mackey is offline
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Exclamation Re: Engine horror stories

A litle off topic, but here goes - my son bought a 71 Chevy El-Camino. 350 engine, supposedly rebuilt, with high performance stuff. Engine was hard starting, especially when hot, ran hot, and ran very 'lopey' (suppossed 'hot cam'). After a few days, it got harder and harder to start, and eventually it blew a head gasket - so he thought! All this 2 weeks before he was to go to colorado-to school. We opened the suppossed 350 engine-to find the following: Engine was a 307 LOW performance. , one head from a 350 truck, the other early 283, with small valves (head cracked). Head gaskets were from a 307, nad one was installed reversed - blocking oil return passages and cooling ports. With the heads off, severe cylender scoring noted on 3 cylenders, and one piston had top land broken out, and the ring was visible from top of cylinder. When we pulled the bottom end pan we saw a lot of metal in the pan, and as the rod caps were removed, noted 2 whole journals were scored and heavily blued. the oil pump had injested a lot of grit, and was shot, even though the engine still had 25 PSI at the guage (suppossed lo-pressure-high volume pump) . the final insult was that when the pistons were pulled, we found that 3 were installed reversed on the rods, and the rods were installed on the crank reversed. this caused severe binding, due to the offset on the rods, and one entire rod and piston assembly was installed reversed. (this was the one that did the most damage - cylinder .040 out, and severely egged, #2 rod bearing 1/2 melted, and the crank throw severely blued and scored (.025 under), and this was the piston that was busted. In short the engine was toast. I am surprised it ran, after all that was wrong with it. i will give chevy this though - it ran, didn't smoke, and when re-assembled with no alterations, nor new gaskets, just a new starter, it started up! We then tried to blow it on purpose, and it would not blow up! (no oil in crank, no water in block, throttle wired wide open etc.
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Old 11-13-2006, 10:20:40 AM
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Elden DuRand Elden DuRand is offline
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Default Re: Engine horror stories

When I was in the service in the early 60's, I got a '51 Henry J. This is the one made by Willys that had the slightly hopped 4-banger Jeep engine.

It used a lot of oil. When I pulled the drain plug to change the oil, I found that it was mostly STP. Because I knew that it REALLY needed work, I decided to pull the head and drop the pan for a ring job. This engine had offset rods and someone had installed all four of the rods backwards. It must have been driven a lot of miles like that. When I miked the bores, they were WAY out of square with the crank and the rod journals were also trashed.

Since I didn't want to have to find a new engine and a short block was out of my price range, I did what I had to do. Since I could find the inserts I had the crank ground 0.060 under, which just barely cleaned it up.

The bores cleaned up at 0.100 oversize and I also got lucky and found 0.100 oversize pistons and rings. Did a valve job, timing chain, etc. and put it back together.

After that, it ran like a swiss watch.

That's my story and I'm a-stickin' to it!

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Old 11-13-2006, 02:42:54 PM
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Default Re: Engine horror stories

myself, i've never came across anything worse than loose rod caps, but how i discovered those was when i was going to rebuild the engine anyway. eaither that or just checking the engine out before i started it, that was when the engine was baught from eaither some one or a dealer. and there was a time, (loose rod cap again) my dads freind just baught a model 23 A briggs from portland, he wanted us to put that engine in his allis B-110, but after checking the engine out and checking compression after rocking the flywheel back and forth, i then heard a CLANK, that noise i heard was the rod cap bolts droping into the oil pan from the rod, and to make a long story short, i knew what it was and knew i had to fix it so i did. after that it ran ok.
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Old 11-13-2006, 04:18:30 PM
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Default Re: Engine horror stories

Was asked if i could figure out why my neighbors gas weedeater was making odd noises. This one being the more common 2 stroke. I asked what oil to gas ratio he used and i was given the answer of I didnt have any oil so i put regular gas in. I pulled it apart and every steel part was BLUE including the bearings. I looked at him and said this things shot. he replied i guess i have to buy a new one. I told him yes.
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Old 11-13-2006, 08:28:30 PM
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Default Re: Engine horror stories

My dad has worked part-time for the Servicemaster Franchise here for quite a few years.
In addition to janitorial work, they also do some outside maintenance for some of the business places they service. One afternoon, his boss sent him to a bank they take care of. The mower was a Lawnboy. His boss was pouring gas into the tank for Dad when dad commented on the (lack of) color to the gas. Dad asked if that gas was mixed. Boss said, "It's s'posed to be." Boss fired it up and mowed a distance whereupon the mower started to bog down until there was no more bog.
Yup, pure gas! Dad got the mower for nothing and fit a used engine onto it for his own use....for quite a few years....because he remembers to mix his gas!!!!

Dad 1
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  #8  
Old 11-15-2006, 10:04:39 AM
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Default Re: Engine horror stories

A bit off topic also, but My son and friend used to ice race at Ashland.(they wernt good but had fun) Well they blew up their chevy 400, it still ran and didnt sound real bad,just missing alot.We tore it down and all 4 middle pistons were in the oil pan!It ran that way! I guess it wasnt rougher as it was sortof balanced yet but toasted
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Old 11-15-2006, 07:18:41 PM
TheEngineGal TheEngineGal is offline
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Default Re: Engine horror stories

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray Cardoza View Post
Was asked if i could figure out why my neighbors gas weedeater was making odd noises. This one being the more common 2 stroke. I asked what oil to gas ratio he used and i was given the answer of I didnt have any oil so i put regular gas in. I pulled it apart and every steel part was BLUE including the bearings. I looked at him and said this things shot. he replied i guess i have to buy a new one. I told him yes.

Oh hey, i work at Lowes and i used to sell outdoor power equipment, and you would not BELIEVE how many people dont know what a 2 cycle is, or how to use it! I get these people: "Whaaaaaaaat? Oil? I thought you put gas ]in an engine!"
AND another thing! (Now im ranting) I used to get these guys completely ignore me when i asked them if they needed help. But then i would start to say things anyways about whatever product (such as the JD lawnmowers had a turned crankshaft and the other ones just were poured) and they would stare at me again and either A. not know what i was talking about, or B. say something stupid, like i dont know my freakin gender. So i started wearing engine/car/truck/motorcycle shirts. That helped a little. never mind that i was hired to sell the damn things.

woo, sorry. got a little off topic there!
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  #10  
Old 11-15-2006, 08:25:26 PM
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JKWidener JKWidener is offline
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Post Re: Engine horror stories

I worked at a mower shop nearby where i was the 2 Cycle mechanic..Well this guy brought in a saw that he bought the previous year and said it would not turn over. Well upon inspection he had put regular gas in it and locked it up tight. He tried telling me that he has run the saw on regular gas for a year with no problems...Long story short, he sued the mower shop and the judge looked at him and said very loudly DISMISSED.....thats one of many....
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Old 11-15-2006, 08:43:05 PM
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Default Re: Engine horror stories

A buddy of mine was the real "horsetradin'" sort. He'd run across someone who had a snowmobile in his backyard that had a "stuck" engine. Of course, it would be freezing weather at the time. He'd buy the sled for $25 or $50 and haul it home. He'd fire the furnace up on his shop and park the sled in front of it with the drain plugs removed from the bottom of the crankcase. A few hours later, and several cups of condensation drained from the engine, they'd be freed up and running again!!
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Old 11-17-2006, 06:07:11 PM
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Default Re: Engine horror stories

At least some one knows what they are talking about when it comes to different engine styles. Ive had several people ask me what the difference is between 2 stroke and 4 stroke.they still cant figure out things. got to go ive gott a piston and connecting rod drying in the kitchen need to get it out before mom gets home.
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Old 11-19-2006, 10:40:18 PM
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Default Re: Engine horror stories

A semi- horror story, from an engine that I had run for 3 years on a Planet Jr Tuffy at shows around the area. This past September, went to the usual last show of the year @ Alexander and set up. After about 10min of running everything, I walked down the alley a bit to talk to our "neighbor". Looked back, and noticed smoke billowing out of the exhaust and oil all over a 5 ft radius. I ran back and shut it down, hoping that it had not damaged the cylinder. Pulled the engine, tore it apart and found what I figured, a blown oil ring. Ended up rebuilding it there on the show grounds with rings and gaskets from the flea market. I also couldn't believe the people that gathered to watch me rebuild it, I had my own little audience
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Old 11-19-2006, 11:13:30 PM
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Default Re: Engine horror stories

Seems that this horror turned into an education event for your audience. I bet some folks learned more in that short time than they ever would if you were to describe the workings of an engine while it was running.
Good Job!
~M~
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Old 11-20-2006, 03:50:09 AM
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Default Re: Engine horror stories

those little suffolks were a great little engine we had a lot of them here in new zealand but villiers made one a bit smaller than that
briggs and strattons sidevalve weedeater motor is tiny also hondas ohv and ohc weedeater and blower motors are jewel like
have a new honda 30cc here cant bring myself to start it yet had it 3 years now
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Old 11-20-2006, 07:34:55 PM
briggsrepairman briggsrepairman is offline
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Default Re: Engine horror stories

Horror stories aplenty. Most of mine involve Tecumseh engines, which as a lawn mower mechanic I feel are disasters t start with. One story involved repairing an older Sear's mower with a automatic choke Tecumseh. It had their equivelant pull-up starter similiar to the Briggs version. Theirs involved a sort of retractable yo-yo contraption. Anyhow, the spring was broken in the starter so I had to remove the piece. The screw broke off holding it together. I attempted to drill it out and ruined the little axle it sat on. Long story short- I spent ALL DAY making a new one out of spare nuts and bolts from the hardware store. Amazingly the lawn mower still runs and the customer is happy.
Another Tecumseh disaster involved a customer who brought by a newer Sear's mower. He didn't give me any clues other than it "wouldn't start". Turned out he had left it sitting outside all winter with the air cleaner cover- which faced up- open to the rain. The crank case was filled with water, which I didn't know until repairing the usual problem with Tecumsehs- crappy carburators and then starting the engine, which then siezed within a few minutes. I had to totally rebuild that one.
Yet another was when I had a nice Arien's riding mower with an 10 HP Tecumseh. I was in a field when suddenly the engine blew up, throwing the rod through the side of the engine so cleanly that I never found the piece. Yet ANOTHER Ariens with another Tecumseh engine that my grandmother owned developed a bad oil leak. After repairing it, I started it and the engine siezed and cracked. I had forgotten to put the Oil slinger back in!
I have some Briggs stories though, but most were just stupid mistakes on my part and not a result of crappy engineering. I had a Lowe's ( MTD) riding mower someone gave me. The carb was not working properly. It had a HUGE muffler that covered the bolts holding the carb on. I removed it and broke BOTH the muffler bolts off in the engine. I drilled them out and drilled through the engine. I figured I'd ruined the engine and the mower was a goner. But I had some "liquid steel" laying around and figured I had nothing to lose. I stuffed some of that in the hole and I'll be damned if it still runs perfectly. Another MTD push mower came in one day. I did a routine maintenance procedure on that one and then started it. The blade suddenly came off and wizzed into the yard. The customer had hit a stump and cracked the blade adaptor. Good thing it didn't hit anybody.
I can't think of anymore right now. Seems like I've had plenty, and I'm still a young guy.
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Old 11-20-2006, 07:47:44 PM
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Default Re: Engine horror stories

Oh ya! I have a few more.. Here's a doozy. I also mowed yards on top of repairing engines. Anyhow, One day I was mowing 10 different yards. I was about halfway done with my day and it was HOT as hell. I was eager to eat lunch and drink water and stuff, so I guess I was in a hurry. I had one of those tilt trailers where you drive the mower up onto the ramp and it clicks down. On mine you were supposed to latch it so it wouldn't tilt back.
I was at Waffle House eating lunch when I looked out and saw that my riding mower was not on the trailer. The push mower wasn't either. I knew immediatly what had happened. Since I had driven on the freeway from the last house, I thought: " dear god, I just let loose a couple of mowers on the freeway!" So I went back down the freeway figuring they were either now involved in a horrible collision or stolen one. Luckily for me, they had simply rolled right back down the trailer and into the driveway of the last house I had mowed. Sitting there just as pretty as if nothing had happened. I was RELIEVED!
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Old 11-20-2006, 08:46:11 PM
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Default Re: Engine horror stories

One I have been trying to forget: I inherited an old MTD rider from my father-in-law. It hadn't been run in quite a few years, left to sit outside. I had it running, but the carb kept running over. Carb is right above the muffler on that one. Well, it flooded out, stalling the engine. Engine gave a cough out of the muffler and FLAMES!!! I pushed it out into the alley away from the garage and called the fire dept.
I have always been taught that petroleum fires should NEVER be extinguished with water, rather foam, or some other way. I was heading for the garage and my fire extinguisher when the flames melted through the plastic gas tank. Well........the fire grew. Policeman came by before the fire dept and put the fire out with.....................................my garden hose. The fire dept. came, prob'ly twenty guys, two trucks, and all their equipment so they could be sure the cop had done his job properly.

The excavating/sand/gravel company I work for has its own screening plant for gravel. The stacking conveyor is run by electricity, powered by a diesel gen set. The fellow who generally runs the plant noticed a noise in the genset engine. Our mechanic had it in the shop looking things over, with the engine running. I happened to be in the shop and noticed a puddle of oil underneath. I hollered at Bill, but above the noise he didn't hear me right away, while the noise got louder, louder, louder until...........................it tossed a rod down through the oil pan. We now have a different genset.
~M~
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Old 11-20-2006, 08:51:17 PM
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Default Re: Engine horror stories

On the flip side, i worked with a guy that had NO mechanical skills or engine knowlege. He came to work one day and said he got pulled over because his car was smoking like a frieght train. he told the officer he just checked the oil in his car and it was way down at the bottom of the dip stick and figured it was low. So he proceeded to put quarts of oil in the engine till it came up to the top of the dip stick. The Oil Co's love guys like that i bet
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Old 11-20-2006, 11:33:00 PM
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Default Re: Engine horror stories

Quote:
Originally Posted by briggsrepairman View Post
Horror stories aplenty. Most of mine involve Tecumseh engines, which as a lawn mower mechanic I feel are disasters t start with.

I HEAR YA THERE! now i'll admit, i myself, have run into a couple "good" tecumseh engines that didn't give no guff, but about 98 percent of them are natural enginering disasters. anyone who's been working with small engines for a good amount of time will know what your talking about.
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