Monday, 14 January 2013

E21 316: M10 Misfire Woes:

Went on a Maccies run with some work colleagues on New Year's Eve and I may have been pushing the old girl a bit hard, when a horrible clanging noise began from the engine and got worse quickly. Some of the guys at work suggested the first stop should be the rotor-arm and dizzy-cap so we managed to get some delivered through the parts dept. that afternoon, but it was still chugging on a mixture of cylinders and it limped home for me then refused to start again. When it eventually did the old M10 barely managed to fire 3 cylinders.

My list of diagnostic checks was:

Replaced distributor-cap and rotor-arm.

Tested all 4 plug-leads.

Replaced all 4 spark-plugs.

Removed, cleaned and rebuilt Weber carb.

Checked valve-clearances and confirmed all valves appear to be moving correctly, turning the engine by hand.

Finally diagnosed cylinder 4 as no firing.

Plug and lead tested again, this time sparking against the suspension turret.

Compression test revealed Cyl. 1 and 2 @ 150psi, 3 @ 45psi and 4 @ 25psi.


This all seems to point to a bust head-gasket between the 3 and 4 cylinders. It is unlikely the valves for 2 cylinders would have bent or suddenly need adjusting at the same time, so off with its head and lets look at that gasket.

*UPDATE: The head came off pretty quickly and revealed one seriously blown head-gasket right between the 3rd and 4th cylinders [detailed pics in this post]. Diagnosis spot on, but the culprit may be a slight warping at that end of the alloy-head - not very much at all, but still a worry considering it looks to have been skimmed before. Either way, the new head-gasket is on [I went for a full head set off eBay for £27.99, which includes the manifold gaskets etc.] and the car is running on all four cylinders again, though not as happily as it could be. I was forced to remove the distributor and seem to be having some issues with ignition timing since putting it back [in this post], and the carb. still hasn't been tuned properly since the rebuild, so a range of fettling awaits before I can drive it for the first time in 2013.


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