Projects from hell….

Randy V

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Fellow gearheads -

I’m either going to bore or entertain you with a really long story… try your best to not skip ahead to the pictures…

1997 Ford F150 4.6V8

Driving down highway 100° outside. AC blowing like ICE. Living in Texas, AC is as required as heaters are in the Arctic Circle.
Suddenly AC started blowing warm air - almost immediately a loud squeal / wail and the smell of rubber. Quickly believing I had a locked up compressor, I shut off the AC and the squeal stopped. We made it home without issues (or AC)…
Next day I started looking into the problem -
* Super-loud belt squeal on startup and really superbad when AC was turned on.
* I could manually turn the AC Compressor.. I put my gauges on it and had pressures that looked about right.
* Power steering pump is fine as it rolls over smoothly and fluid is full.
* Alternator seems fine - bearings smooth and charges 14v
* Water pump rolls over nicely - no wobble in the bearings.
* Clutch fan seems to be fine - no wobble and viscous coupler drag is good

—>>
Diagnosed as a weak Belt Tensioner and glazed belt. Ordered and installed a full set of Dayco tensioner, idler pulley and heavy duty 8 rib belt.
—>>

Still squealed badly - crud… (( or words to that effect - in French of course ))


AC was not able to blow hardly any cool air - intermittent wailing and squealing from the belt.

Removed the belt and rolled the AC Compressor over by hand. It was pretty stiff (remember, it is charged with the right amount of R134a refrigerant.

Diagnosed as an AC Compressor that is starting to fail or has failed. I brought the compressor to a local AC Supplier who said that I was lucky and caught the compressor just as it was failing. I bought the new parts from him and was on my way..

I Evacuated the system and Replaced the Compressor and Orfice tube (had only a couple little specs of trash in the screen). Vacuumed it down and Charged it with the required 2# of R134a.

Still having some intermittent chirps and squeals though - what the heck!!!!

Driving it the AC can barely get the temp down to 60° outlet temp with Max Air and 95° outside. When turning a corner, the belt wails loudly..

Shut it down in disgust and went in for the night.

I’m into the project roughly $300 and a bunch of driveway labor now - mind you, it’s roughly 100° every day here.

Next morning - I ask my wife to start the truck while I observe the AC Compressor.
It wailed and sounded like it was coming from the Compressor, but the AC was not on and the compressor clutch never kicked in… HUH??????

Alternating - Scratching head and butt-cheeks - I was stumped.

Just on a hunch, I crawled underneath the truck to observe the belt and pulleys. Alignment looked good - but wait - there’s a bit of rubber dislodged in the harmonic balancer….
Naw - can’t be! The balancer had been replaced by the previous owner’s garage roughly 2000 miles earlier. No way could it be bad!!!

Guess what - it was bad….
I put a yellow mark across the inertia ring and hub. Started the engine ((WAIL)) and shut it off. Dove down underneath the truck like a Terrier after a rabbit…
Sure as heck - the mark was now two marks and the inertia ring was in a different spot.

This is the second time in my life that I’ve had the Inertia Ring come loose from the harmonic balancer hub. I have both in the photos below. The orange one was from a Small block Chevy 301 that didn’t like the 7,000 RPM hole-shots at the drag strip..
I suppose It doesn’t help that Ford decided to turn the outer circumference of the inertia ring into a pulley.

I have a new Dayco Premium Harmonic balancer coming in a couple of days…. Another $90…. If it squeals now - I’m just going to push it off into my private jungle out back and pretend it never existed….

So my friends - how was your week?
Please feel free to share your own project from hell….
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Brian

Supporter
I spotted the problem.

CHINA in dot matrix

Just squirt some caulk in the gap, then drill 3 holes and drive in roll pins.
 

Randy V

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I spotted the problem.

CHINA in dot matrix

Just squirt some caulk in the gap, then drill 3 holes and drive in roll pins.
Remember - the original one had failed also and that one came from Ford!
 

Neil

Supporter
I spotted the problem.

CHINA in dot matrix

Just squirt some caulk in the gap, then drill 3 holes and drive in roll pins.
DO NOT DO THAT! If the inertia comes off the hub it will go into the radiator or do other damage. Just replace the thing with a non-Chinese harmonic balancer. An SFI certification is required in racing applications.
 
I'm a bit embarrassed to tell this one but it fits the project from hell description.

I bought a fairly new boat with a Mercury Racing 525 EFI. Very little hours. It ran like a bat out of hell early in the day but after it warmed up started to sputter at full throttle. It was hard to diagnose due to the difficulty of trouble shooting while going 85 MPH over water. It had spark and fuel pressure while on the hose in the driveway. I started witht the obvious stuff like fuel and filter. Loose grounds. Then a full tune up.

I went through the entire fuel system. Replaced fuel pump, filters and injectors. Then went to the electrical side. I bypassed the electrical harness past the engine plug. Replaced the coil packs, wires, plugs. Same issue. At this time I had about $2k into it.

After spending much of the summer working on the beast I found out through a boating forum my boat was known and had never run right since new. It had been looked at by several shops and even the Mercury Racing techs had a go at it but never fixed the issue. Hense the reason a very low hour boat was sold at a really good price. :)

After going through and replacing the entire fuel and electrical system I figured the olny thing left is the engine harness. Mind you the engine harness on one of these motors is a can of speghetti. When I was on the last couple of wires on the engine harness I noticed one wire (the type that pushes onto a terminal without a nut on a coil) was very loose. Turns out the problem was just that loose push terminal wire. When the engine compartment would heat up the terminal would expand just enought to prevent a complete connection causing the sputter at high RMP. When it cooled down it ran like a champ again until the it heated up again. It would have taken me 10 seconds to fix the problem using a pair of needle nose pliers to crimp the terminal tighter.

In the end, the boat dealer I bought it from made it right and covered my parts. I lost a summer of boating. And, I can now say I fixed the damn thing when Mercury Racing and a bunch of other marine techs could not.
 

Brian

Supporter
I had an old Dodge van with a weak cylinder (leaky intake valve) on a 360. The weak cylinder did the same to the harmonic balancer, and the ring slid back and ground a hole in the timing cover.

What you expect with a $500 work van that the odometer died a few years before at 280K miles.

I was joking about roll pins. Better off welding it and keeping it below 2800 RPM.
 

Randy V

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Good one Rob! The problems are almost always in the last place we looked eh? :)
 

Randy V

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Nah - no welding on a balancer. I have seen them drilled and pinned though. Chevrolet used to recommend it back in the 70’s in the GM Power books.. I’ll see if i can find that….
 
Nah - no welding on a balancer. I have seen them drilled and pinned though. Chevrolet used to recommend it back in the 70’s in the GM Power books.. I’ll see if i can find that….
that fix is in one of the peterson books, pretty sure they used modified cap scews with a slot milled in the inner hub to allow the outer ring to move ~ Degrees as intended.
 

Larry L.

Lifetime Supporter
I'm a bit embarrassed to tell this one but it fits the project from hell description.

I bought a fairly new boat with a Mercury Racing 525 EFI. Very little hours. It ran like a bat out of hell early in the day but after it warmed up started to sputter at full throttle. It was hard to diagnose due to the difficulty of trouble shooting while going 85 MPH over water. It had spark and fuel pressure while on the hose in the driveway. I started witht the obvious stuff like fuel and filter. Loose grounds. Then a full tune up.

I went through the entire fuel system. Replaced fuel pump, filters and injectors. Then went to the electrical side. I bypassed the electrical harness past the engine plug. Replaced the coil packs, wires, plugs. Same issue. At this time I had about $2k into it.

After spending much of the summer working on the beast I found out through a boating forum my boat was known and had never run right since new. It had been looked at by several shops and even the Mercury Racing techs had a go at it but never fixed the issue. Hense the reason a very low hour boat was sold at a really good price. :)

After going through and replacing the entire fuel and electrical system I figured the olny thing left is the engine harness. Mind you the engine harness on one of these motors is a can of speghetti. When I was on the last couple of wires on the engine harness I noticed one wire (the type that pushes onto a terminal without a nut on a coil) was very loose. Turns out the problem was just that loose push terminal wire. When the engine compartment would heat up the terminal would expand just enought to prevent a complete connection causing the sputter at high RMP. When it cooled down it ran like a champ again until the it heated up again. It would have taken me 10 seconds to fix the problem using a pair of needle nose pliers to crimp the terminal tighter.

In the end, the boat dealer I bought it from made it right and covered my parts. I lost a summer of boating. And, I can now say I fixed the damn thing when Mercury Racing and a bunch of other marine techs could not.
WE'VE >A-L-L< BEEN THERE!!! ;)
 

Randy V

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that fix is in one of the peterson books, pretty sure they used modified cap scews with a slot milled in the inner hub to allow the outer ring to move ~ Degrees as intended.
The one I was referring to was a Chevrolet recommendation ….
Glad we have better alternatives nowadays…
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Hmmm... your experience with this harmonic balancer hub now has me worried about having a similar issue with the balancer on the Coyote in my Miura project. The Coyote has a 2 belt pulley built into the balancer but I had to cut the outer pulley off to get the engine into the chassis. The result is that it will have a single belt running alternator and A/C compressor but only half the original rubber surface area within outer ring/pulley on the harmonic balancer.



I guess the good news is there is no water pump or power steering driven from the belt, just alternator and A/C. I can't use a fix similar to the Chevy example as the serpentine belt grooves cover the whole outer surface on the balancer. A similar harmonic balancer failure in the Miura would require the engine to be pulled to be fixed and that wouldn't be good.

Does anyone have an idea for how much power as a percentage the individual "accessories" (i.e. water pump, alternator, P/S, A/C) require? My gut tells me the A/C and alternator are probably the bigger users of belt power.

How about ideas for how to "pin" the outer hub/pulley from angles other than the outside in?

I'd sure like to avoid a "project from hell" like this happening on the Miura on a road trip.
 

Randy V

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Does anyone have an idea for how much power as a percentage the individual "accessories" (i.e. water pump, alternator, P/S, A/C) require? My gut tells me the A/C and alternator are probably the bigger users of belt power.

How about ideas for how to "pin" the outer hub/pulley from angles other than the outside in?

I'd sure like to avoid a "project from hell" like this happening on the Miura on a road trip.
I can't speak to how much torque it takes to drive those accessories.
If I were to "pin" the pulley to the hub, I would drill right through the serpentine grooves and have the countersunk screw below the bottom of the grooves. If you did this with maybe 6 screws, they could be much smaller. The grooves could be cut with a Dremel abrasive wheel, or machined by a machine shop.
Otherwise ---
You may want to consider a steel "Guide" that bolts on over the edge of the pulley just to retain it if it ever did come loose.
--
Frankly - I think the pulley being built into the inertia ring is a bad design..
 
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