Project Phoenix rising - yep, time to rebuild again. - K20A.org .:. The K Series Source . Honda / Acura K20a k24a Engine Forum
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Old 10-04-2008, 06:27 PM   #1
chunky`
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Default Project Phoenix burning - yep, time to rebuild again.

A few weeks ago, my engine started making some noises. It sounded like rod knock so I ordered myself some new rod bearings and put them in. Sound persisted, but engine's compression was good, there was nothing in the oil when I replaced the rod bearings, the old rod bearings had no signs of wear. I had looked up at the underside of each piston while replacing rod bearings and everything seemed fine. I had checked out the head as well, all the rockers were fine, valve lash was fine. I was really puzzled as to why my engine was making noise. I listened to the motor with a mechanics stethoscope, and the sound appeared to be coming from either end of the motor, that is it could have been in the trans or in the block. I knew my trans had some bearings that were 100k miles old, so I figured that was the source of the noise. Well, about 140 miles later, crunch crunch and she stopped running.

No dropped valves.


Ahh, cylinder #3, something went wrong.


All the other cylinders looked pristine.


Upon disassembly, everything from the bottom end looks fine except the piston. Even the #3 rod barely had any marks from where it must have contacted the piston.


Close up of piston top. Oil started to loosen up the carbon deposits.


In case you were wondering why they're called "H" beam rods.


Yep, the skirt came completely off.


CP forged pistons, purchased new, had the tops coated with a thermal barrier, skirts and underside coated with an anti-friction and oil shedding film.


The number three cylinder bore.


The stripped block.


None of the other piston skirts showed excessive wear - keep in mind this bottom end had about 20k miles making 220-230hp and revving to 9k regularly. The engine actually had stock cams in at the time she blew, so she was making around 210hp.

So where to go from here? Well, I've actually got the original block that came in my ep3. So that's going to the machine shop next week to get bored out to 87mm. The head is still serviceable. I'll need to replace the 4 valves in that cylinder.

All in all, it could have been worse. Really i'm just looking at new pistons & rings, 4 new valves, new seals & bearings, and a cleanup job on the head.

I'm thinking I'll try out the supertech pistons. the 4032 alloy should let me run a tighter piston to wall which should theoretically give me longer skirt life. I'm still puzzled as to what happened in cylinder #3. The tune was very safe, and with stock PRB cams, no chance of v2p.
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Old 10-04-2008, 08:40 PM   #2
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Default Re: Project Phoenix rising - yep, time to rebuild again.

wht caused the 3rd piston to do tht bro
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Old 10-04-2008, 09:07 PM   #3
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Default Re: Project Phoenix rising - yep, time to rebuild again.

Did the piston come out easy? Just wondering if maybe it got warpped causing a little contact and thats what caused that.
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Old 10-05-2008, 02:31 AM   #4
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Default Re: Project Phoenix rising - yep, time to rebuild again.

holy smokes!
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Old 10-05-2008, 06:38 AM   #5
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Default Re: Project Phoenix rising - yep, time to rebuild again.

Damn that sucks man.
Any ideas about what may have caused it?
It looks like everything was fine except for that chamber, think the injector was sticking or something?
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Old 10-05-2008, 07:07 AM   #6
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Default Re: Project Phoenix rising - yep, time to rebuild again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by signalpuke View Post
Damn that sucks man.
Any ideas about what may have caused it?
It looks like everything was fine except for that chamber, think the injector was sticking or something?
No clue. All I know is that the first sign was a sound the was similar to rod knock. I'm guessing it was piston contacting the cylinder wall. I kept driving the motor after replacing the rod bearings, checking the head/chain/tensioner, compresison test (which was normal).

My best theory at this point is that something happened with the rings allowing combustion gasses to blow off the oil film, which then led to the excessive skirt wear and resulting engine noise.

I would have hoped to go longer than 20k miles on a built motor, but I guess this motor has seen it's fair share of abuse. More dyno pulls than I can count, track time, and general street abuse.

One factor I considered is that the coated piston tops actually slowed the warm up time of the pistons on cold starts. This could have somehow impacted ring/skirt wear over the long term.
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Old 10-05-2008, 09:22 AM   #7
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Default Re: Project Phoenix rising - yep, time to rebuild again.

time for some 12.5:1 pistons
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Old 10-05-2008, 10:13 AM   #8
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Default Re: Project Phoenix rising - yep, time to rebuild again.

chunky that sucks....I remember a while back you running a sr20det 240...lol the EP sounded damn good as you flew by! it makes me worry about my motor!
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Old 10-05-2008, 10:18 AM   #9
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Default Re: Project Phoenix rising - yep, time to rebuild again.

any detonation? that piston looks a bit like it had some detonation.
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Old 10-05-2008, 10:32 AM   #10
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Default Re: Project Phoenix rising - yep, time to rebuild again.

I dunno about the coatings hurting...I would think that if anything you would see equal rock on all four pistons. The rings should have all sealed equally as well, ya know...really weird man. Interesting that it was cylinder 3 though, did you adjust the fuel trim on that one a lot during testing, or keep it at the 3% all the time?
Did you happen to measure the rod bolts?
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Old 10-05-2008, 10:54 AM   #11
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Default Re: Project Phoenix rising - yep, time to rebuild again.

That sucks
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Old 10-05-2008, 11:17 AM   #12
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Default Re: Project Phoenix rising - yep, time to rebuild again.

dam dude that sucks I my self have been threw my fair share of motors on my journey to honda greatness I always look at it as time to build stronger,bigger and better you should check if streched a valve (I had skunk2 valves) it happen to me (v2p)and I checked every thing over and over again everything looked find you could not even tell I strech any valves untill it was to late bye bye motor just a thought. GOOD LUCK ON YOUR BUILD





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Old 10-05-2008, 11:32 AM   #13
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Default Re: Project Phoenix rising - yep, time to rebuild again.

damn sucks to hear that chunky,

i have a friend that had something similiar done to his . i feel you man.
i have a spare k20a2 shortblock with no pistons/rods if you need it.
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Old 10-05-2008, 03:25 PM   #14
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Default Re: Project Phoenix rising - yep, time to rebuild again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hondaluver View Post
time for some 12.5:1 pistons
haha, those were the 12.5:1 x-forged pistons from CP.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ImportRacer2123 View Post
chunky that sucks....I remember a while back you running a sr20det 240...lol the EP sounded damn good as you flew by! it makes me worry about my motor!
Ahh man, just thinking about those nights make me miss having her running. Driving a 230hp civic as a daily certainly skews your views of how getting from point A to point B should be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by onefstek View Post
any detonation? that piston looks a bit like it had some detonation.
No detonation. It looks kind of like it because the oil that made it's way into the CC started to loosen up the carbon buildup on the piston top.

Quote:
Originally Posted by signalpuke View Post
I dunno about the coatings hurting...I would think that if anything you would see equal rock on all four pistons. The rings should have all sealed equally as well, ya know...really weird man. Interesting that it was cylinder 3 though, did you adjust the fuel trim on that one a lot during testing, or keep it at the 3% all the time?
Did you happen to measure the rod bolts?
I never played with cylinder 3 fuel trim. I just put my highest flowing injector on cylinder three and never got too greedy with the a/f. I ran the motor as lean as 14.5:1 at WOT and never saw any knock. That was a long time ago though, when the motor was still relatively new.

And yeah, the coatings certainly do slow down the expansion of the cylinder, but I always let the engine warm up before driving. I need to measure the bores and see how they compare to when I put the motor together.

I did measure the rod bolts when I replaced the rod bearings. They were fine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by maddog View Post
dam dude that sucks I my self have been threw my fair share of motors on my journey to honda greatness I always look at it as time to build stronger,bigger and better you should check if streched a valve (I had skunk2 valves) it happen to me (v2p)and I checked every thing over and over again everything looked find you could not even tell I strech any valves untill it was to late bye bye motor just a thought. GOOD LUCK ON YOUR BUILD





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heh, The valves are supertech and pretty new. I'll measure them out to see if they're stretched.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sleeper6speg View Post
damn sucks to hear that chunky,

i have a friend that had something similiar done to his . i feel you man.
i have a spare k20a2 shortblock with no pistons/rods if you need it.
Thanks for the offer. Fortunately I have boatloads of spare parts, including my original block. I thought it'd be kind of cool to put it back in with +1mm overbore to clean up some scratches on the cylinder wall. 87mm, 12.5:1, ips k2 mark III cams & IPS 2.0L manifold on the way with a hytech header to suit. She'll be back and better than ever, just gotta be patient.
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Old 10-06-2008, 12:18 AM   #15
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Default Re: Project Phoenix rising - yep, time to rebuild again.

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Originally Posted by chunky` View Post
. She'll be back and better than ever, just gotta be patient.
you said it bro...good luck with your new build up..
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Old 10-06-2008, 01:43 AM   #16
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Default Re: Project Phoenix rising - yep, time to rebuild again.

Get the injectors flow tested, see how much injector #3 flows compared to the rest.
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Old 10-06-2008, 03:09 AM   #17
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Default Re: Project Phoenix rising - yep, time to rebuild again.

damn that sucks dude but new plans sound great
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Old 10-06-2008, 05:10 AM   #18
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Default Re: Project Phoenix rising - yep, time to rebuild again.

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Get the injectors flow tested, see how much injector #3 flows compared to the rest.
They were cleaned & tested by RC not too long ago.
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Old 10-06-2008, 06:34 AM   #19
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Default Re: Project Phoenix rising - yep, time to rebuild again.

Damn man ouch. Pretty much what you thought it was though.

Any chance it could have just been a defective piston?
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Old 10-06-2008, 07:12 AM   #20
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Default Re: Project Phoenix rising - yep, time to rebuild again.

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Originally Posted by Lucid Moments2 View Post
Damn man ouch. Pretty much what you thought it was though.

Any chance it could have just been a defective piston?
I'm leaning more towards something with the ring than the piston itself. The piston self destructed over a period of time where I was trying to figure out where the noise was from. The initial noise was probably from the ring being compromised. As that worsened, the piston skirt began to take a hit.

Anyhow, I'll be measuring all the other pistons & cylinder bores etc to try and get a better idea of how the engine was really holding up after 20k miles. I think this is just a freak thing, bad luck as it were.
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