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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Been a while since I posted but I have an emergency!!! :eek:

Started the car one morning and it made a terrible noise. I shut the car off and let it sit. Pushed it up to the driveway and pulled the head and #4 pistion is all chewed up. I know, DROPPED VALVE SEAT! :mad:

My question, is the piston to far gone just to put a rebuilt head on it? I can get a rebuilt head for $275 with the new style valve seats

Here are some pics of the piston top. The cylinder wall has no marks or scratches on it at all. (click for full size - 56K warning)

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That still looks usable. If there are any sharp points you can file them down. Of course, this is all with the idea that the lower portion of the piston is fine. How long has the misfire been happening?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Never had a misfire problem. I did have a blown head gasket that I replaced about a week before this happened. I figure the that helped the valve seat fail.

The motor ran for no more than 3 to 5 seconds the morning I started it. That was the only time it made any noise (and it was a hell of a noise).

I think the fun part about getting it all back together will be figuring out how to time it right now that I have turned the engine a few times by hand with the head off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Here is the piston cleaned up and all the high points smoothed out. It doesn't look all that bad.

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Since you obviously have the skill and time to remove the head, would you be able to move aside the cat conv, pull the oil pan and remove the #4 piston/rod assembly?

The problem is that the upper ring groove is very easy to crush on these pistons, and the upper ring(s) could be pinched without your knowing it. Check the ring/groove clearance with a feeler gauge. If it's ok, with no cracks and a straight connecting rod, just put it back together (with a new oil pan gasket), no harm, no foul.
 

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Very good advice from rballin. The only thing that I would add is to check the cylinder bore. Be sure that there is no damage to it either or putting a piston in it would be worthless. Generally the head and piston take the brunt of it, but just make sure the cylinder bore is ok as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Small follow up...

I put the rebuilt head on and had a terrible leak. The coolant and oil mixed and poured out of the head area.

I pulled the head back off and put a another new head gasket on. This time I had a bad oil leak from the timing belt area. Found out I forgot to put the camshaft gasket on. (stupid me)

I ran it on and off for about 4 hours just idling in the driveway. It had a bad knocking noise. I found that I did not tighten the bottom two timing belt cover bolts and that was that noise. The engine runs smooth. No smoke and very quiet.

Took it out on the road around the block a few times. The car hasn't been on the road in 7 months. The brakes aren't working as well as they should but I figure they will get better as I use them more. The motor feels very strong.

I saw an 2001 Escort on Craigslist with a blow head gasket for $300. it only had 93K on it. If I had the $300 to spare I would have gotten it and fixed it up for my Daughter to drive. 8)
 
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