Crankcase odor (still)
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Thread: Crankcase odor (still)

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    Senior Member The Cub's Avatar
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    Crankcase odor (still)

    One problem still exists that is annoying, my wife is too kind to complain but every now and then an unwelcome odor enters the car. I have tuned in and eliminated most all of the things I’ve wanted to get the most enjoyment from my 2.0L conversion.
    I’ve got the carburetor sufficiently cooled to keep the gas from boiling (I’ll be posting more on that on a separate thread). I’ve eliminated the stumble off idle.
    I’ve been able to find a little better performance and a little better gas mileage by running just under 36į on my total ignition advancement with no signs of pinging, the AFR is where it should be.
    The engine has no measurable oil loss between oil changes (every 3,000 miles).

    The last thing on my checklist and seems to be difficult is to eliminate the offensive odor I have that emanates from the crankcase and or valve cover. It seems to be a gaseous odor only present under higher RPM deceleration going down steep enough grades with the throttle plates closed or not during but shortly after I goose it up to 6,500 RPMS, 10 seconds or so afterwards. I also do have “the windy hole” when I remove the oil cap at idle it seems to pulsate in both directions but knocks a piece of paper around pretty good if I hold it above the oil fill hole. Mixed reviews on that, some say that means nothing. Here’s a good post on the subject https://www.opelgt.com/forums/6a-eng...fill-hole.html

    Everything I read is pointing to it being blow by pointing to the rings not seated correctly. I’ve got almost 20,000 miles on the engine since the rebuild so it is just about 2/3 fully broken in. The good news is that there’s ways around it. Rolling up the windows is the best LOL. Other ways would be to alter my driving habits. I certainly don’t want to tear down the engine again, if it’s the rings, if it was going through any oil I would, but it doesn’t. My valve seals/guides look a little bit shaky but nothing horrible just residual oil on the spark plug threads and the intake valves had a wet black coating on the back of the valves (see pic) I realize that the valves stems are supposed to receive oil but maybe not that much. I purchased new valve guides from OGTS, They were installed as far as I know. No smoke out the exhaust on fire up or at all while driving. I wasn’t really happy with the cylinder head work as a whole even though he did a few extras like installing the threaded plugs for the oil galleys. All in all it was just okay I suppose. Once I decide the best way to rebuild my 71’ head that I have sitting on the shelf I’m going to swap it out eventually. I’m confident that will change things up considerably in the performance department. My hope is that all of my woes here are related to the valves seals or guides not sealing properly or so I’ve read it’s a possibility? The valves all seat fine as my CC is 150-160 across #4 being the highest. Any signs of oil control issues (must be minimal) seem to be coming from the top.

    I’m getting my oil tested for gasoline content along with other things by a well known company called Blackstone Labs they’ll send you the test containers for free and you pay $28 upon the analysis. If I do have anything going on there I’ll know to change the oil more frequently.

    All of the internet articles I see relevant to blow by include oil loss. It’s hard to imagine that the engine does an even exchange gas for oil because it’s always spot on when the level is checked. But stranger things have happened. Better to be safe in the oil lubricating department.

    This is a difficult subject to research on the internet because I never see many details including the following. If the rings didn’t seat right #1 Wouldn’t I be using oil? #2) No specifics on this wouldn’t this odor be most present during hard acceleration with faulty piston rings? Not 10 seconds after. I’m hoping that someone can advise after looking at the specifics let me know if you have any further questions. My strongest hunch has been to put my finger on the piston ring thing but there’s a lot of good mechanics on our site so I wanted to post this up. Any advice on how to capture and divert this odor would be welcome as well since it seems like I’m stuck with it for a while.

    My solutions to eliminate this odor so far:

    1)I purchased and installed an oil catch can to be checked at oil change intervals.

    2) My theory on deceleration was the throttle plates being closed were not allowing the gas odor into the intake so I ran the outlet hose from the catch can back to the rear of the car. It seemed to have made it better for a while. Not realizing when I was playing around with the timing advancement I was running extremely rich (in spirts I saw it on the AFR gauge) causing worse odors so I ripped it out.
    I’m thinking about re installing the hose again now that I have it tuned properly. The hoses are as follows now, small hose to small 1.5mm orfice on intake, the other connected back up to the Weber box filter.

    3) I haven’t yet, but my oil dipstick tube has always been loose it doesn’t have any oil leaking there so I’ve always just left it. I’m thinking of sealing it up I’m a little Leary about leaving the dipstick in after doing that I’ve heard from others that they can blow out, so I might cap it off somehow and keep the dipstick in the car until if and when I’m confident enough to put it back in.

    4) I’ve regasketed the oil fill cap using cork rubber gasket material but it still leaks a little. I’m now buying the right gasket from OGTS.

    Thanks again in advance,

    Tom
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    Last edited by kwilford; 10-21-2019 at 02:39 PM.

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    2000 Post Club soybean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Cub View Post
    One problem still exists that is annoying, my wife is too kind to complain but every now and then an unwelcome odor enters the car. I have tuned in and eliminated most all of the things Iíve wanted to get the most enjoyment from my 2.0L conversion. Iíve got the carburetor sufficiently cooled to keep the gas from boiling (Iíll be posting more on that on a separate thread). Iíve eliminated the stumble off idle. Iíve been able to find a little better performance and a little better gas mileage by running just under 36į on my total ignition advancement with no signs of pinging, the AFR is where it should be. The engine has no measurable oil loss between oil changes (every 3,000 miles).
    The last thing on my checklist and seems to be difficult is to eliminate the offensive odor I have that emanates from the crankcase and or valve cover. It seems to be a gaseous odor only present under higher RPM deceleration going down steep enough grades with the throttle plates closed or not during but shortly after I goose it up to 6,500 RPMS, 10 seconds or so afterwards. I also do have ďthe windy holeĒ when I remove the oil cap at idle it seems to pulsate in both directions but knocks a piece of paper around pretty good if I hold it above the oil fill hole. Mixed reviews on that, some say that means nothing. Hereís a good post on the subject https://www.opelgt.com/forums/6a-eng...fill-hole.html
    Everything I read is pointing to it being blow by pointing to the rings not seated correctly. Iíve got almost 20,000 miles on the engine since the rebuild so it is just about 2/3 fully broken in. The good news is that thereís ways around it. Rolling up the windows is the best LOL. Other ways would be to alter my driving habits. I certainly donít want to tear down the engine again if itís the rings, if it was going through any oil I would, but it doesnít. My valve seals/guides look a little bit shaky but nothing horrible just residual oil on the spark plug threads and the intake valves had a wet black coating on the back of the valves (see pic) I realize that the valves stems are supposed to receive oil but maybe not that much. I purchased new valve guides from OGTS, They were installed as far as I know. No smoke out the exhaust on fire up or at all while driving. I wasnít really happy with the cylinder head work as a whole even though he did a few extras like installing the threaded plugs for the oil galleys. All in all it was just okay I suppose. Once I decide the best way to rebuild my 71í head that I have sitting on the shelf Iím going to swap it out eventually. Iím confident that will change things up considerably in the performance department. My hope is that all of my woes here are related to the valves seals or guides not sealing properly or so Iíve read itís a possibility? The valves all seat fine as my CC is 150-160 across #4 being the highest. Any signs of oil control issues (must be minimal) seem to be coming from the top.
    Iím getting my oil tested for gasoline content along with other things by a well known company called Blackstone Labs theyíll send you the test containers for free and you pay $28 upon the analysis. If I do have anything going on there Iíll know to change the oil more frequently.
    All of the internet articles I see relevant to blow by include oil loss. Itís hard to imagine that the engine does an even exchange gas for oil because itís always spot on when the level is checked. But stranger things have happened. Better to be safe in the oil lubricating department.
    This is a difficult subject to research on the internet because I never see many details including the following. If the rings didnít seat right #1 Wouldnít I be using oil? #2) No specifics on this wouldnít this odor be most present during hard acceleration with faulty piston rings? Not 10 seconds after. Iím hoping that someone can advise after looking at the specifics let me know if you have any further questions. My strongest hunch has been to put my finger on the piston ring thing but thereís a lot of good mechanics on our site so I wanted to post this up. Any advice on how to capture and divert this odor would be welcome as well since it seems like Iím stuck with it for a while.

    My solutions to eliminate this odor so far:
    1)I purchased and installed an oil catch can to be checked at oil change intervals.
    2) My theory on deceleration was the throttle plates being closed were not allowing the gas odor into the intake so I ran the outlet hose from the catch can back to the rear of the car. It seemed to have made it better for a while. Not realizing when I was playing around with the timing advancement I was running extremely rich (in spirts I saw it on the AFR gauge) causing worse odors so I ripped it out.
    Iím thinking about re installing the hose again now that I have it tuned properly. The hoses are as follows now, small hose to small 1.5mm orfice on intake, the other connected back up to the Weber box filter.
    3) I havenít yet, but my oil dipstick tube has always been loose it doesnít have any oil leaking there so Iíve always just left it. Iím thinking of sealing it up Iím a little Leary about leaving the dipstick in after doing that Iíve heard from others that they can blow out, so I might cap it off somehow and keep the dipstick in the car until if and when Iím confident enough to put it back in.
    4) Iíve regasketed the oil fill cap using cork rubber gasket material but it still leaks a little. Iím now buying the right gasket from OGTS.

    Thanks again in advance,
    Tom
    Tom, in the picture you posted, it looks like oil. I may be wrong, just an observation. Otherwise it looks like you have all the other bases covered, so I'm at a loss. Jarrell
    You lose your dreams, you lose your mind. (The Rolling Stones)

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    Is the smell actually like gasoline, or more of an acrid, oily smell?

    Serious suggestion: Have someone drive behind you.... decelerate several times from maybe 50 MPH or down that steep grade and have them look for oil smoke. In between, accelerate hard up through 2nd and 3rd and have them look for smoke under acceleration. (Use hand signals or a cell phone to communicate what you are going to do next.)

    Smoke that gets worse during decel will be your intake seals. Smoke under hard extended acceleration is most likely blowby. Make sure the look to see if any smoke is coming from the exhaust pipe, or just from under the car body.

    Having someone observe this from behind is a much better way to detect things.
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    And are you keeping fresh fuel in the car all the time?I ask as those valve deposits could be gum/varnish/additives in the fuel, or excess fuel.
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    Senior Member The Cub's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manta Rallier View Post
    And are you keeping fresh fuel in the car all the time?I ask as those valve deposits could be gum/varnish/additives in the fuel, or excess fuel.
    Yes, good premium fuel 91 octane either Costco, Shell or Mobil always fresh top tier, I go through a tank every couple of weeks. Iíll try to have someone follow me and do what you suggested. Iím not sure what acrid means I know what oily means. I can tell when behind a car thatís running rich (not that) burning oil (not that) or burning anti freeze (not that) The odor is mostly like a partially burned fuel/oil gaseous odor more so than oil. That said Iíve also been behind older car or truck engines where the odor is very similar. Thereís a road here that I have in mind where I can make a long downhill run as I usually do foot off the gas engine brake down the grade, come to a stop, do a little conservative driving for a few minutes and give it a hard rev in second then hit third not as hard (donít want a speeding ticket) to see if it puffs. Hopefully sometime this weekend. Easy enough, thank you

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    perhaps your newly tuned setup is so exhilarating that you you only properly breathe or exhale when letting off the gas.. in this case I suggest...
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    Just so you know.... having someone observe from behind gives a many times greater chance of seeing any smoke. So if you do it my yourself, it may do it but you may not see it. And seeing if the smoke is from the pipe or from under the car is pretty much impossible yourself.

    As for the smell, what I was trying to express is probably closest to what you have said you smell from an older car or truck.... not quite oil, but oily with a sharp edge to the smell. Blowby at high rev's and loads can smell like that.

    BTW, you mentioned '2/3 broken in' or something along those lines. If your rings were going to break-in properly then would have done so either right after start up or with some limited driving. Were these freshly bored cylinders and new pistons, or just a re-ring and hone? What exact rings were used? (Brand and PN)
    Last edited by Manta Rallier; 10-16-2019 at 09:00 PM.
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    Tennessean Site Supporter hrcollinsjr's Avatar
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    I skimmed the previous posts so someone may have already made this suggestion. Is the cowl seal in place? It helps keep heat out of the passenger compartment as well as engine fumes.

    Harold

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    Quote Originally Posted by Manta Rallier View Post
    Just so you know.... having someone observe from behind gives a many times greater chance of seeing any smoke. So if you do it my yourself, it may do it but you may not see it. And seeing if the smoke is from the pipe or from under the car is pretty much impossible yourself.

    As for the smell, what I was trying to express is probably closest to what you have said you smell from an older car or truck.... not quite oil, but oily with a sharp edge to the smell. Blowby at high rev's and loads can smell like that.

    BTW, you mentioned '2/3 broken in' or something along those lines. If your rings were going to break-in properly then would have done so either right after start up or with some limited driving. Were these freshly bored cylinders and new pistons, or just a re-ring and hone? What exact rings were used? (Brand and PN)
    I think FT is right maybe a tube of toothpaste will solve the problem LOL. I had it line bored to the 2.0 Mahle pistons & rings (OGTS). I saw them cross hatching it (them) at the machine shop, they have one guy where thatís all he does is line bore & work on the piston cylinders. The engine break in was done with the freshly ground cam & lifters using Schneiderís cam paste on the lobes and their special ZDDP oil additive along with Pennzoil 10-30w Dino oil. @ 2500 rpms for 1/2 hour I set the ignition timing to 25 degrees mechanical advance (ran smoothly and stayed under 185 degrees on the engine coolant gauge) then a complete cool down overnight until I took it out on the road afterwards. I noticed this blow-by (odor) symptom right away on the first few days of driving. All OGTS parts were used. Iím trying to spare you and summarize the direct answers to your questions, if youíre so inclined hereís my build thread: https://www.opelgt.com/forums/opel-e...ml#post1309313
    I heard that the engine is almost but isnít completely broken in for 30,000 miles when I discussed the subject with Gil. My neighbor who works on cars all the time said the ring seating part took place during that first half hour. That time period went well a I remember a lot of heat was generated from the engine when I shut it off, my small valve cover hose fell out but thatís supposed to be normal and my temperature gauge looked fine during that period. I filled up the engine coolant with the front end lifted up and left overnight so any air bubbles would dissipate, then topped it off the next day with the car level it took Between 1.5 & 2 gallons and I never had to add more to speak of. I did my research before the break in as best I could. Hope that summarizes the answers well enough, glad to answer any more questions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hrcollinsjr View Post
    I skimmed the previous posts so someone may have already made this suggestion. Is the cowl seal in place? It helps keep heat out of the passenger compartment as well as engine fumes.

    Harold
    Harold,
    I want to know how this crankcase odor made you think of this song? I do like the song. Hmmm.... I wonder what would work better this or the toothpaste
    All kidding aside, were you referring to this? https://www.opelgtsource.com/search/2453/details I did just recently replace it if that was what you were thinking of. Besides with the windows down both sides get it. I do see where you were going with that though.

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    Cowl seal = Cowsills. Harold is talking about the rubber seal between the engine compartment and the cowl where engine smells can be inducted into the cowl vents.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Cub View Post
    Harold,
    I want to know how this crankcase odor made you think of this song? I do like the song.
    Maybe my hearing lost is affecting my thinking process or maybe I've just always been a 'little off center'.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Cub View Post
    All kidding aside, were you referring to this? https://www.opelgtsource.com/search/2453/details I did just recently replace it if that was what you were thinking of. Besides with the windows down both sides get it. I do see where you were going with that though.
    Yes, the often forgotten underhood seal should prevent most of the fumes passengers smell. Usually the only time I smell anything in the car is when I've spilled something on the exhaust manifold. If you don't have any leaks or excessive blow by and the valve cover hoses are hooked up there really shouldn't be many fumes to smell.

    Harold

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    Just Some Dude in Jersey The Scifi Guy's Avatar
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    In my opinion, you shouldn't smell anything at all coming out of the engine from the engine compartment. You should only smell what comes out of the exhaust. To have the almost instantaneous smell happen during specific episodes of driving sounds like a BIG leak of something.

    Since you say that it smells like oil, then the loose dipstick, the cap gasket, the 2 valve cover hoses, your style of air cleaner and hose attachment to it, and even oil dripping on your exhaust sound like likely candidates.

    When I got my 2.4 it had good compression, but also serious blowby. This is a common problem on stroker-style engines: They can have good compression, but the bottoms of the cylinders get egg shaped and they'll gobble lots of oil and have a lot of blowby........enough to blow the dipstick out of the block. Norbert hooked me up with a fun solution that some German guys came up with: A heavy sword handle-shaped thing that you fasten to your dipstick. It's heavy weight stops the dipstick from blowing out.

    That's not to say that blowby is your problem, I'm just explaining my situation.

    I routinely throw away my rubber cowling strips and always drive with the windows down, plus I sit in traffic a lot. I've had plenty of worn out Opel engines with leaks and blowby and I NEVER smell that sort of thing in my car. I HAVE run exceedingly rich to the point that my eyes are burning from gas fumes, but those emanations always came from the exhaust.

    I suggest continuing to trouble shoot any leaks of fumes from your crankcase/valve cover.

    It sounds like you have other issues related to a less than perfect rebuild. Alas, I have a lot of recent experience with that. In that regard, I suggest selling the car immediately, so that you don't end up falling into the Black Hole of Calcutta that I'm currently sitting in.

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    A leak-down test is the correct way to test for cylinder leakage. Your rings need to seat to the cylinder walls and to the ring lands on the pistons, this takes time.
    You could add a oil separator from the valve cover.
    HTH
    Guyopel
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    TC, I looked at your old thread. Is it correct that you used the Total Seal gapless rings? Personally, I would never use or recommend these for the street. I have rallied on them once in a 1.9L and the cylinder bore wear in a couple thousand miles of mixed rally and road use was very, very high compared to regular rings. The ring tension in these was quite high, which probably explains the high bore wear. Not saying this is your issue, but I was less than impressed with them for this type of use. And I asked about the exact rings to see if they were perhaps chrome top rings, which are hard to seat.

    As for ring seating, with perfectly round bores, the seating is within a minute or less. With bores that are not perfectly round, then they rings are seated quickly, but the bores may wear gradually rounder over a long period of time.

    FWIW, a trick with these blocks is to put 2 bolts in the top rear holes, (where the trannie bell housing bolts in) and torque them to 25 ft lbs before boring and honing. The reason is that the #4 cylinder goes out of round by a few thousandths when bolts are torqued in those 2 holes. If you bore and hone without these bolts in place, then the cylinder will not round when you put it on the engine stand or bolt it in the car. I doubt this is your issue however.

    Well all of that may or may not be of any use to you. After the road tests, your next step IMHO should be a cylinder leak-down test. That will tell you a lot more about the ring sealing situation.
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    Thanks for the help. Since I donít smell anything but my good olí Opel smelling interior with the windows up so that leads me to believe nothing is coming in through the ventilation. I thought about the gapless rings but didnít go there. Gil said the rings supplied with the Mahle piston set were excellent and I shouldnít need gapless so no worries there. Itís a long thread, that information is in there somewhere but I certainly donít blame anyone that doesnít read through it. Since the pistons came out above deck height when I got the short block back my first suspect would be the machine shop definitely not the product if I find the rings or cylinders are at fault but thatís no news to you guys, again I went through OGTS for quality. Since the road test is easy itís worth a couple of tryís to try and spot anything. Iíve heard that the leakdown test is the best way to diagnose but as guyopel said itís not easy so my dedication needs to be worked up some, If I find gas in the oil for instance. Still perplexed on the no oil loss thing, I just donít want to be fooled so $30 or whatever is a small price to pay to get it analyzed. They (of course) recommend a routine analysis FWIW. You guys know me, canít sit still kinda guy around this car, part of the reason I love this car, Iím always trying to learn more so (even when something doesnít need to be done) itís l just a matter of time, Iíll read up on the how tooís in the meantime. Right now, road test and as Gordo said do something about the dipstick etc., Iíve actually been speculating as to how much if not a good portion of the odor eminates from that floppy loose dipstick. Iím thinking about putting a small thin vertical bead of brazing around the part that goes into the block to hold it down better and installing a thick oíring to seal it up once I shove it in there. Any better repair ideas, please let me know. Iíll be glad to take a few pics. I thought about using adhesives but donít like the idea of foreign matter dropping into the oil pan. Gordo if you have a picture of the weight idea for the dipstick thatíd be great.

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    This is my sword handle dipstick:

    Sword Handle Dipstick.jpg Opel 2.5 engine photo shoot (21).jpg Opel 2.5 engine photo shoot (19).jpg

    It's a normal new dipstick with just the loop cut off. The handle has a flat slot just the right width for the flat metal stick and there's a set screw on the side to lock it in place. My starter is artificially longer than a new 2.4 starter, due to the chromy stuff I slid over the outside of it, and the bare skinny metal of the stick wasn't rigid enough to keep the heavy handle from wobbling all over the place and smacking my starter. So, I slid some rubber hose over it and then a sleeve of flexible stainless steel tubing over top of that to add stiffness and bling. That worked great. You probably have a normal starter, so the sleeving to reduce the wobbling probably wouldn't be necessary. Also, you don't have to keep the stick at it's full length as I have, you could cut it off shorter, even all the way down to the rubber "cork". That would surely stop any wiggling. I actually didn't need the weighted dipstick after I had my engine rebuilt, but I kept using it for the bling.

    Charlie modded away any possibility of me retaining the oem dipstick(), so my new engine will have an entirely different screw in dipstick and tube assembly. Therefore, I have no need for the sword stick. It's yours for free, just PM me your address and it will be on it's way to you.

    P.S. You DO have the internal tube that the stick slides into and guides to prevent the stick from rubbing against the crankshaft, don't you? This could be why your stick is loose and vapors and oil may be coming out of it.


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    Since you like tinkering TC, here is a description on how to modify the cheap HF leakdonw tester to work as a leakdown tester should. Of course, you need a source of compressed air....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Manta Rallier View Post
    Since you like tinkering TC, here is a description on how to modify the cheap HF leakdonw tester to work as a leakdown tester should. Of course, you need a source of compressed air....
    The link didnít show for some reason? Iíd have to borrow my neighbors air compressor, would compressed nitrogen work? I have plenty of that on hand. Iím thinking since nitrogen is lighter then atmospheric pressure it might not work as well? Iím a ways from trying it, I also saw in my journey on the internet with this, a guy that just fills the cylinder TDC on the compression stroke with 80 psig of air and listens to the intake, exhaust & crankcase. You donít know what your percentage is by doing that but it could tell you something, that test could be conducted by using nitrogen. Too early to tell yet, that sounds like a better test when you know you have a problem in one of the cylinders or something definite going on. If you try posting it again Iíd be interested in checking out what youíre talking about.

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    Senior Member The Cub's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Scifi Guy View Post
    P.S. You DO have the internal tube that the stick slides into and guides to prevent the stick from rubbing against the crankshaft, don't you? This could be why your stick is loose and vapors and oil may be coming out of it.
    Uh oh, what internal tube ? All I have is the dipstick and tube that sticks up in the air, nothing internal inside of the oil pan. If it was ever there then the guy who rebuilt the old 1.9 back in 87í pitched it along with the exhaust manifold bracket that Iíve replaced since. I never had any idea there was supposed to be anything else to it other than what I have. Iím going to try and get things to seal with what I have for now there is definitely more vapors than oil getting out there. I hope thatís it, good to know anyway that the 2.4 crankcase odor was normal, maybe thereís hope. Thank you for your offer to send me the dipstick, after wrestling with the idea of having a dagger under my hood I figure if it works why not, if I donít like it I can always duplicate the idea using something else. That is if youíre sure you donít want to save it as part of the legendary Gordo archives? Iíll PM you my address.

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