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1970-1995 Range Rover Classic
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Discussion Starter #1
It has been a while since I have been here. Seems like it should be a good thing, however it is because mechanic had my Rover for 4 months and got about as far as to set the timing and add a few hose clamps and charge me too much. #4 MONTHS"


I am about at my wits end on this. I will try to keep this short-
1989 Classic
Engine was running bad. Not seeming to get proper fuel delivery, had no power, lifter ticking, seemed to run perfect in park but no power in gear.
Pulled the motor and-
replaced cam replaced timing chain
replaced head gasket
replaced head bolts
New lifters
new bearings
cleaned up most all internals, but never got deep enough into the crank.
New injectors
New distributor, coil, wires and plugs
New O2 sensors
Fuel pressure is good. (can only check before the regulator)
Fuel tank drained and new fuel installed

The Rover is full of new parts


OK, so the Rover fires up perfectly. It has a very good steady idle and is good when I rev her up. Still have that dang tick.
Put it in gear and same as it was before. Little to no power.(better than before, but will not climb a small hill)
Check engine light is on

Things I did not do
Replace rings( the ones I got in my kit did not fit. They were too thick to fit in.)
Fuel pressure regulator

I bought some Liqui Moly lifter additive to help with the tick. I checked my oil and it smelled very gassy. I originally thought it smelled like coolant, but after stepping away, I came back and smelled with a fresh nose and it is gassy and thin. I also have thick but opaque white smoke out the tail pipe.

Could it be a bad Fuel Pressure Regulator?
Bad injectors?
?????

PLEASE HELP. I am ripping my hair out on this and after spending as much money as I did for a mechanic to do nothing for 4 months, I have no faith in taking it somewhere.

Is engine just too old and tired?

Sorry, tried to keep it short.
I cannot wait to drive this beast. Have had it for 10+ months and have not been able to drive it. Not 1 mile
 

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1970-1995 Range Rover Classic
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134 Posts
What is the CEL code? Also, how many miles were on it before the top end rebuild? Fuel in oil could be present if the car takes short trips or doesn't get warmed up properly.
CEL code means (probably) that one or more sensors are not getting a proper reading. If it is the oxygen sensors, the ECU will put the car in "limp mode" or open loop fueling.
I would recommend getting a rover gauge cable and downloading the software. This will let you see what the computer is "seeing" and you can better understand whats going on.
 

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1970-1995 Range Rover Classic
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Discussion Starter #3
I don't know much history on the engine of this Rover. I got it from the wife of the owner that had passed away and she had no idea about it.
Odometer read approx 200,000

From what I have read, the CEL code reader didn't start until 1990.
I have not taken the panels under the pass seat yet, but I didn't think there would be a code reader.
 

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1970-1995 Range Rover Classic
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Discussion Starter #4
Replaced the Fuel Pressure Regulator today. No better
Actually seems worse but maybe thats because I had expectations of being better.

Guess it is time to scrap this hunk of junk
 

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If the oil is dilute with fuel it'll definitely make the lifters tap. Risks wrecking the cam too in extreme cases.

This is very obscure but I've seen it before. Are you really confident of cam timing as I've had one that someone had timed to a different mark on the gear wheels that sounded much like this. We checked and double checked, it was two to three teeth out and I could see his reasoning of how he set it.

Also what are you timed at for ignition, you could try swinging it a small amount to advance it while it's running to assess it.
 

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1970-1995 Range Rover Classic
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Discussion Starter #6
Thats not a bad thought.
I did have a hard time figuring out the proper marks when installing the the new timing chain and gear.
However the engine runs the same as it did prior to pulling and replacing parts. Almost exactly the same but maybe better. Still no power.

Even though the mechanic took way longer than he should, he does know what he is doing. I am sure he timed it properly. I had to get it out of his shop or it would never have gotten fixed. He was planning to diagnose the issues at some point, but at that rate I would not have gotten it back till after summer.
 

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1970-1995 Range Rover Classic
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Discussion Starter #7
I am purchasing another 3.9 with serpentine setup. Its a used engine that has 60,000 less miles and apparently runs good. Who knows.
The car was wrecked so I just gotta go with what the owner states.

Unbelievable what I have been through just to get this thing to run.
Not sure why I am putting myself through such a nightmare; but selling it I would lose my a$$. It is full of new parts and I prob couldn't sell it for 1/4 of what I have put into it.
 

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You'll get there one way or another, but a shame to waste what you've spent on it so far, as you say.

To elaborate on the cam timing a little. It was more than 25 yrs ago I had one that was wrong, so a little hazy but recall is digging up more info!

That example would start and tickover, but struggled to move the vehicle at all and would be very reluctant to raise revs even without load.

But more importantly, I remember now it rattling some of the lifters. Presumably it was kissing the pistons with valves, and so giving a tap through the valvegear. Retimed, it was fine.
It stands out to me as it was so odd. But as noted previously, I could see the logic of the mistake from gear wheel markings.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Here is my plan of attack.
The 3.9 I just drove 8 hrs to get was a piece of garbage.
Another waste of time.

Had a friend come over and see if we could diagnose it a little better.
Tell me what you guys think.
When I did the head gasket, I did what everyone said not to do (my fault and paying for it now). I did not have the heads inspected and flattened.
I am going to pull the heads and have them redone properly.
While I am at it, I will check out the timing gear. I had problems with that gear prior to this. I had a post on here about it and got a few different answers.
He also thought the Cam, through all of this, may not have seated properly. Hopefully I don't have to buy a new cam again.

What do you guys think about that?
 

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I'd not mix the two firstly to assist diagnosis.

Just pull the front cover (loosen the crank pully then set it to TDC on #1 cylinder first before removal of front pully) and see what you've got for the timing of cam.
This will give you a yes or no to cam timing before going any further.

If it's OK then you know that you're looking for something else.

The head gaskets, ok ideal would have been to check for flat etc first, but it doesn't mean they are not sealed now. So I'd put that as something to do only after checking you've got timing correct. Even with two cylinders out it'll still be able to pull itself around, so even if you have a leak between two chambers I doubt you'd get this problem.

If it was in front of me right now I'd want to know that cam timing first, and certainly before taking anything else apart.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
OK I see where you are going. Get the timing done first before moving on.

If the timing chain was installed wrong, wouldn't the pistons destroy the valves?
 

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With a serious offset, yes the pistons will contact the valves and cause damage.

But with a mild difference there's enough clearance on many engines to run with error without that happening, just, but may give you tapping by very minor contact.
Also seen them with failed cam gearwheel, that just bent the pushrods as the valves hit the pistons.

I'm trying to remember how the discrepancy is arrived at, and think that with the pointer on the cam gear pointing down at 6oclock, then it's normally lined up with a mark on the face of the crank gear. Error occurs when the crank gear is orientated so that it's keyway points to the cam gear. If that makes sense. Haven't got a manual with me right now to check alignment.

But if it is wrong it'll make you chase other things, so sensible to get it out of the equation first and let you proceed if it checks out.
 
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