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Discussion Starter #1
After I got my engine back together with its new cam, lifters, headgasket, etc, it started burning quite a bit of oil, and stank just as bad as it ever did. I made a big mistake at first by running fully synthetic 5w-30 through the worn out engine, which I could probably blame most of those problems on. I switched to some Castrol GTX High Mileage 10-w40, which seemed to help a bit, but I still wasn't completely satisfied. Doing a compression test turned out numbers between roughly 120 and 145 PSI, and a wet test confirmed that my rings were worn pretty badly. Hoping to find a temporary remedy, I sprang for a bottle of Lucas Oil Stabilizer, which I've read works wonders. With that stuff in there, my compression test turned out an even 150 PSI across all cylinders, so I assumed it had worked its magic and sealed up my rings pretty well. Unfortunately, not only does the exhaust still stink, but my spark plugs began getting fouled up by oil. If I clean the plugs off completely, run the engine for a few seconds, and inspect them again, they will be coated with fresh oil.

Suffice it to say, I'm getting really tired of dumping out fresh oil. I'm about to spring for a low mileage junkyard engine, but before that I figured I'd throw my problem out there and see if it makes any sense. I think it all boils down to my engine being a worn out turd, but this whole spark plug fouling thing is brand new. I don't want to believe the oil treatment could have done this, but it happened right around that time.
 

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It's probably rings unless you did something wrong with your valve seals. You can try a half can of seafoam in the oil. Sometimes you get lucky and your rings are just sludged and stuck. Why not pull the head again, pull the pan, unbolt the rods at the crank, and try a ring job? If the cylinders aren't horribly coned, I'd rather do that than a junkyard mystery motor.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I should probably mention that this engine has a completely unknown number of miles on it. The car itself has about 250,000 miles, but I've never heard of an HO engine lasting that long, especially considering the way it was beat on before I got it.

When you do a ring job, don't you need at least fairly new cylinder bores with a visible crosshatch pattern for the rings to seat right without burning oil? When my head was off, my cylinder walls looked pretty worn to say the least.

I've also been considering completely rebuilding this engine, but I have a total of $350 to work with at the moment, so obviously I'm not going to accomplish much with that kind of money.
 

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Definitely worn rings and cylinders. Most likely you'll need to have the cylinders mildly bored to true them up, as well as new pistons, rings, and reconditioning the rods. Spring for some new bearings as well, and have the the crank journals cleaned up (knife-edged if possible). You should be able to do all this in ~$500...might be more or less, depending on your area, and the machine shop. The downside is that it's initially expensive. The upside is that you've got a new engine with 0 miles on it, and know how reliable it is by how well it's built.

As a note: my milled head/bored combo kicked off 155 psi on all 4 cylinders the last I measured it. That was 22k miles ago, so I know I'm due for testing it again, to see if the rings actually seated in properly.
 
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