Something else tragic happens

Something else tragic happens

I jinxed it in my last post, but I saw it coming.

So I was driving down the highway and I started to notice a ticking sound coming from the engine. I was concerned, but then it went away. No warnings, no indications, even VIDA scanned clean. The car appeared to be in good health. Until the next day when the ticking came back, and much louder. I wasn’t far from home so I babied it back to my driveway and parked it. After much concerned googling, I reached the conclusion that I’ve spun a bearing.

But how does one spin a bearing? Usually from lack of oil, but oil’s never been a problem. Regular oil changes, never ran dry, never even seen a dummy light or warning. Actually I say never, but I’m the second owner of this car, the original owner had it for 9 years and clocked 360,000 kms. The slightest neglect can cause the slightest damage, which can grow over the years until one day it gives up. Either way, I have an oil pan to drop.

One sunny day I felt brave enough to drop the oil pan and have a look. Going in I knew I would be sourcing a new engine for this car, but the mr-fix-it in me wanted to attempt to repair this one first, even if its just for the learning experience (I’d never done bottom end work before). I drop the pan and have a look inside. Huge chunks of metal everywhere. Yup, I shredded at least one bearing. Giving the big-ends a wiggle, everything was super tight, no play at all. I hope I didn’t shred something further up and harder to reach.. actually let me turn the engine by hand a bit. Sure enough, cylinder #4 has basically no bearing left. This is going to be fun.

I did a lot of googling and youtube surfing, and arrived at the conclusion that I will for sure need another engine, there is no way I will be able to fix this one. But, a new set of bearings is 90 bucks… hmmm…

So I remove all the bottom end caps and pull out all the bearings. I clean the engine inside and out to make sure all the metal flakes are gone. I scrub the oil pan and change the filter. I polish the crank (giggity) until its perfect. I clean everything again. I install the bearings with assembly oil and put the end caps back on. Torque everything to spec. Turn the engine a couple times by hand. Put the oil pan back on. Fill it up. Pull the ignition fuse. Crank the engine over a few dozen times to get the oil moving around. Put the ignition fuse back in and.. moment of truth.

I start the engine and it purrs like a kitten except for the noisy valvetrain but.. you know. Volvo. Nah it couldn’t have been that easy… I let it idle for a half hour then start giving it some quick revs. Smooth and solid. Nahhhh there’s no way that worked, my first time working on a bottom end? Skipping steps? Not using the right tools? But it’s running, and running really well. Huh. I let it run another half hour to be sure, and no change. I was going to drive the CRV today but decided, screw it. Take the volvo. I drove to my friends place about a half hour away so we could do some fishing. Car ran beautifully. I drove another half hour to a clients house to help her set up her new printer. Car ran beautifully. Drove another half hour to get home. Car ran beautifu-wait.. as I was pulling onto my street I heard that godawful knocking come back, and building fast. By the time I reached my driveway, the car was bucking and surging. This engine is toast.

Or is it? Maybe I just put something together wrong.. just for fun I’m going to repeat the whole process one more time, with a lot more attention to detail and a lot less skipping steps. Everything clean and tight, I put it all back together and started it up. I was greeting with the loudest, most obnoxious knocking yet. Bah. Time of death: 4:37PM

As of now, the total repair list is as follows:

  • Engine (Volvo B5254T4)
  • Rear shocks (Monroe C1501)
  • Front Driver Side CV Axle
  • AC Condenser
  • Climate Control Module
  • Passenger Headlight

So I just have to keep an eye out at the local scrapyards for a car that matches mine (super rare around here) and hope that it’s in good shape. And hope I get to it first.

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