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Thoughts, Opinions, Input, on extreme carbon build-up on this setup

Thoughts, Opinions, Input, on extreme carbon build-up on this setup

 
Old 06-01-2019, 02:17 PM
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Default Thoughts, Opinions, Input, on extreme carbon build-up on this setup

Simple setup:
F22b1
Turbonetics 5857
Forged internals
Custom Manifold
Tuned on pump gas w/ Neptune RTP

Ok so it's been nearly 3yrs (iirc?) since I finished the build and this cars been my daily driver ever since. Frequent trips to Philly (I live up near the Poconos now) every few weeks, OCMD trips a few times each summer, lots of mileage from living in the sticks, etc..etc... tbh I have no idea how many miles on the build at this point because I've swapped out my odometer several times since (chasing silly issues in the dash) but it's been a LOT in the past 3yrs!? Put it this way, my wife bought her 2015 Accord right around the time I finished up my build and she's got somewhere in the neighborhood of 135k on her car right now, so yeaaaa. All in all, I'm saying this to say that I got my money's worth out of this build and I wouldn't change much, if anything, if I had to do it all again.

Anyway, my engine finally took a hit. And oddly enough it happened while sitting still in a fkn carwash of all places? The short and skinny of it was the engine/turbo was heat soaked (been driving all day) decided to pull into a drive-thru carwash and the engine/turbo/manifold/etc. got blasted with ice-cold water (I have a slotted CF hood now), instantly lost oil pressure, and stalled. CEL came on; I initially thought it was something electrical, let it sit till the wash was done and turned the key, she started right back up, drove it home, everything seemed normal and then I checked the oil.... and sure as **** it had turned into a Mocha Frappe'. So needless to say it's been parked since and I finally had the chance to pull the head last week and this is what we found:







So as you can all see there's an ungodly amount of carbon build-up in the combustion chamber. I just don't know how long it's been there or if it happened after the coolant/oil began mixing? There was also no clear indication of a failure point in the HG? I straight-edged the head and deck and both surfaces are still dead-nuts straight!? So I really don't know wtf happened? Also, the pistons are still in good shape,and the cylinder walls still have a pristine cross-hatch!? Aside from the gunk at the top, they still look like they did the day I assembled it! There was some gunk on the valves and there was also some oil in the IM runners, also, the IM gasket (Hondata Heatshield IM gasket) seamed a bit buggered up (from VTEC solenoid leaking oil on it for 3yrs) right around the coolant port; so maybe that failed? I just don't know? Everything I'm seeing on top of these pistons is indicative of blow-by and bad valve seals but I had the head reworked during the build!? Unless I blew them [valve seals] before I added the catch tanks? These engines do produce a lot of PCCP when boosted especially the way my machinist gapped the rings (significantly over OEM spec), so maybe?... Idk? smh

I need the pros to chime in here, please. I'm putting out an APB for HELP on this. ANY and ALL suggestions, ideas, possible causes/fixes, etc..etc.. will be welcomed. Thank you all in advance I appreciate it.

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Old 06-01-2019, 06:12 PM
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Default Re: Thoughts, Opinions, Input, on extreme carbon build-up on this setup

Bad valve seals, excessive blow by, etc.. I had bad valve seals once upon a time and my **** looked JUST like that. My exhaust ports were TERRIBLE. lol!
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Old 06-02-2019, 07:37 PM
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Default Re: Thoughts, Opinions, Input, on extreme carbon build-up on this setup

That's actually very normal buildup for when it runs a hair rich and ignition timing is retarded. Ideal timing will typically keep the pistons fairly clean at all times no matter how much oil it burns or how rich it is. So thats the first thing, ignition timing is a bit retarded from ideal. Which isn't a bad thing, it's typically safer for long term durability.
Gentle driving can also cause this over long periods of time. This is the exact reason why they say it's bad to drive like a grandma at all times, and that it's actually good for engines to get hammered on occasionally.
The fact that the carbon is all dry tells me it is NOT due to oil, and that it is only due to fueling, whether it be normal fueling or slightly rich. If it was due to oil, the carbon would be gooey and inconsistent between cylinders.
Conclusion: don't change anything, it's totally fine the way it is. Drive it a little harder on occasion to help keep it clean inside. Maybe get back to the tuner at some point for some touchups, if you choose, not necessary
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Old 06-03-2019, 05:08 PM
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Default Re: Thoughts, Opinions, Input, on extreme carbon build-up on this setup

Originally Posted by Txdragon View Post
Bad valve seals, excessive blow by, etc.. I had bad valve seals once upon a time and my **** looked JUST like that. My exhaust ports were TERRIBLE. lol!
Thanks for the reply; my exhaust ports actually don't look bad at all, however I did decide to order a new set of valve seals just in case. So we'll see what happens?

Originally Posted by motoxxxman View Post
That's actually very normal buildup for when it runs a hair rich and ignition timing is retarded. Ideal timing will typically keep the pistons fairly clean at all times no matter how much oil it burns or how rich it is. So thats the first thing, ignition timing is a bit retarded from ideal. Which isn't a bad thing, it's typically safer for long term durability.
Gentle driving can also cause this over long periods of time. This is the exact reason why they say it's bad to drive like a grandma at all times, and that it's actually good for engines to get hammered on occasionally.
The fact that the carbon is all dry tells me it is NOT due to oil, and that it is only due to fueling, whether it be normal fueling or slightly rich. If it was due to oil, the carbon would be gooey and inconsistent between cylinders.
Conclusion: don't change anything, it's totally fine the way it is. Drive it a little harder on occasion to help keep it clean inside. Maybe get back to the tuner at some point for some touchups, if you choose, not necessary
This ^^^ is good to hear/read and it also makes a lot of sense as I remember my tuner saying he was going to tune it a little bit on the "safe" side since it was a dd and I needed it to last. I'll give him a buzz once I get everything sorted and see if he thinks we should add a little more timing just to clean those crowns up a bit. Some of that stuff was really thick and very difficult to get off the pistons and I'd hate to have some hotspots causing detonation, especially if it can be avoided? All that aside, do you have any thoughts on what may have been causing the coolant to find it's way into the oil? I don't want to just swap in a new HG and send it if that's not what actually failed, you know? The problem is, there's no clear signs of failure anywhere, aside from the fact that there was coolant in the oil!?
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Old 06-05-2019, 04:35 AM
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Default Re: Thoughts, Opinions, Input, on extreme carbon build-up on this setup

Carbon build up is just free high compression, change my mind.
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Old 06-05-2019, 01:50 PM
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Default Re: Thoughts, Opinions, Input, on extreme carbon build-up on this setup

Originally Posted by DumpdEJ6 View Post
Carbon build up is just free high compression, change my mind.
Lol! Good point.

Okay so something I came across today while trying to clean that crap off the pistons was this:













Now call me crazy but those gaps sure look WAYYYYY bigger than a 10th of a mm or 4 thousandths of an inch!? Maybe I'm wrong? And I know that using a feeler gauge is no way to take that measurement... however I don't need a micrometer and a bore gauge to see that there's more ptw clearance than what is specified by Arias!? So my question to y'all is: Does that look normal to you? Is the piston crown that much smaller than the skirt? When I assembled this engine I never in a million years would've thought to double check my machinist's work, but after seeing this and knowing how this engine behaved I'll never make that mistake again. It's the old "measure twice cut once" adage... I should've checked, double-checked, and then had one of my buddies come over and check it again!
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Old 06-05-2019, 01:55 PM
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Default Re: Thoughts, Opinions, Input, on extreme carbon build-up on this setup

You don't measure from the top....You get the PTW measurement from the specified distance under the oil ring groove. Look at your spec sheet. It's right there. All aftermarket forged piston manufacturers that I know of design their pistons with a slight taper so you will have more gap around the crown since that area sees the most heat.

Put a headgasket on it and send it.
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Old 06-05-2019, 02:39 PM
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Default Re: Thoughts, Opinions, Input, on extreme carbon build-up on this setup

Yeah, the crown is smaller than the skirt. Like Aradin said, look at the spec sheet. You're supposed to measure piston diameter 1.1 inch below the bottom of the oil ring groove.
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Old 06-05-2019, 07:11 PM
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Default Re: Thoughts, Opinions, Input, on extreme carbon build-up on this setup

Originally Posted by LeeMajors19082 View Post
do you have any thoughts on what may have been causing the coolant to find it's way into the oil? I don't want to just swap in a new HG and send it if that's not what actually failed, you know? The problem is, there's no clear signs of failure anywhere, aside from the fact that there was coolant in the oil!?
More often than not, you won't ever see any signs of where the HG was leaking if coolant gets into the oil, but not into the cylinders. Especially if you took it apart very soon after it first happened.
If the block and head surfaces check out good, get a new gasket and send it.

Also, I see some pitting on the pistons in your pics. It does not appear at all to be caused by detonation. Carbon deposits are corrosive to various forgings of aluminum. And based on how much carbon was built up, I would put money on the pitting being caused strictly by the carbon buildup. So it's good that you're cleaning it off.
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Old 06-05-2019, 07:55 PM
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Default Re: Thoughts, Opinions, Input, on extreme carbon build-up on this setup

Originally Posted by Aradin View Post
You don't measure from the top....You get the PTW measurement from the specified distance under the oil ring groove. Look at your spec sheet. It's right there. All aftermarket forged piston manufacturers that I know of design their pistons with a slight taper so you will have more gap around the crown since that area sees the most heat.

Put a headgasket on it and send it.
Yea I figured the crowns were smaller I just didn't think it'd be that significant? But yea man I'm just gonna clean everything off/out and this time use an OEM head gasket and send it! Lol! Thanks again Aradin

Originally Posted by DaX View Post
Yeah, the crown is smaller than the skirt. Like Aradin said, look at the spec sheet. You're supposed to measure piston diameter 1.1 inch below the bottom of the oil ring groove.
Thanks for the reply, I see where I screwed up there. Definitely just gonna clean it up and throw it back together.

Originally Posted by motoxxxman View Post
More often than not, you won't ever see any signs of where the HG was leaking if coolant gets into the oil, but not into the cylinders. Especially if you took it apart very soon after it first happened.
If the block and head surfaces check out good, get a new gasket and send it.

Also, I see some pitting on the pistons in your pics. It does not appear at all to be caused by detonation. Carbon deposits are corrosive to various forgings of aluminum. And based on how much carbon was built up, I would put money on the pitting being caused strictly by the carbon buildup. So it's good that you're cleaning it off.
Okay great, that really puts my mind at ease. Instead of buying OEM, or Cometic, I went with a Fel-Pro MLS HG and now I feel like that was a horrible decision. Needless to say this time I bought an OEM one. And yea I'm doing my best to clean all that crap off but I did use a wire brush and as you can see I scratched the crowns up pretty good. I hope it doesn't screw anything up. Thanks for your feedback bro I appreciate it.

Also, on the subject of cleaning that crap off the pistons I'm pretty sure a good bit of it has made it's way into both the rings and the coolant jacket, now I think I can get it out of the coolant ports by draining it and using compressed air but do you guys think I should pull out all the pistons and clean the rings etc so that none of that **** scores up the cylinder walls? Or is it not that serious and cleaning the tops and using some compressed air there too should suffice? Thanks again for all of your replies/feedback
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Old 06-06-2019, 04:10 AM
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Default Re: Thoughts, Opinions, Input, on extreme carbon build-up on this setup

Originally Posted by LeeMajors19082 View Post
Instead of buying OEM, or Cometic, I went with a Fel-Pro MLS HG and now I feel like that was a horrible decision. Needless to say this time I bought an OEM one.
Depending on your power levels, the Fel-Pro MLS isn't a bad choice. I wouldn't push much more than 300whp through it though. I ran one on my first build and when I had to tear down after a few months, I could see that gasket was a time bomb.. I may have been able to go about 3 more months before it would have failed. I wish I'd have taken pictures, but you could see the problem areas.. All trouble spots developing right around the cylinders.
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Old 06-06-2019, 02:02 PM
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Default Re: Thoughts, Opinions, Input, on extreme carbon build-up on this setup

Originally Posted by Txdragon View Post
Depending on your power levels, the Fel-Pro MLS isn't a bad choice. I wouldn't push much more than 300whp through it though. I ran one on my first build and when I had to tear down after a few months, I could see that gasket was a time bomb.. I may have been able to go about 3 more months before it would have failed. I wish I'd have taken pictures, but you could see the problem areas.. All trouble spots developing right around the cylinders.

Agreed, when I compared the Fel-pro to the OEM they were just completely different. Granted the Fel-Pro had been used and compressed but it still just looked to me as though the OEM gasket was much better designed/made. On the Fel-Pro there was a blue rubbery coating on one side (I think to help it seal?) that reminded me of like, a latex paint when it's drying but it didn't really stick to whatever you were painting? Idk how to explain it but the **** was a mess when I pulled the head and IF there were any visible signs of the failure THAT was it, that weird coating it had on it was obliterated. But yea man the OEM was much beefier.

So as soon as I get a chance I'm just gonna drop the oil pan and do my best to clean out the block w/o pulling the engine completely and I'll throw it all back together with the new gasket and see how it goes...? Thanks for the reply bro I appreciate the feedback
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