CHECK YOUR OIL LEVELS

COMPRESSION: A reader wants to know why cylinders 1 and 3 in his Ford Bantam are oil-wet.
COMPRESSION: A reader wants to know why cylinders 1 and 3 in his Ford Bantam are oil-wet.

I DRIVE a 2004 Ford Bantam 1,3. I do the servicing myself. Recently I noticed that plugs no 1 and 3 are oil-wet when I remove them. The engine is not smoking at the moment. What can be the cause and how can I remedy this problem ?

I DRIVE a 2004 Ford Bantam 1,3. I do the servicing myself. Recently I noticed that plugs no 1 and 3 are oil-wet when I remove them. The engine is not smoking at the moment. What can be the cause and how can I remedy this problem ?

Charl

Charl, if the plugs are oil-wet, it means you are getting too much oil into the combustion chambers. There are three possible causes:

The engine might be overfilled with oil. It's surprising how often this happens, both during an oil change and when the oil level is checked on the forecourt.

Though it is unlikely to be the problem in your case, seeing that you do the servicing yourself, it is something worth keeping in mind.

You might wonder why it would only cause problems in two of the four cylinders, but it's a fact that the clearances are never identical in all cylinders, not even in a brand new engine. It could just be that in the two cylinders you mention the clearances are slightly wider than in the other two.

The cylinder bores and-or the oil-control rings in cylinders 1 and 3 might be worn more than on the other two cylinders. You can check for this by doing a compression test on the engine if you can get hold of a compression tester.

(Remember: warm engine, all plugs out, ignition disabled, throttle wide open, wait for the needle to stabilise when the starter cranks the engine.) If the compression in cylinders 1 and 3 is significantly lower than in 2 and 4, it could indicate worn rings or bore.

As a further check, you can squirt a small amount of engine oil into each cylinder and then repeat the compression test.

If the "wet" readings are significantly higher than the "dry" ones, you can be fairly sure that you are looking at bore and/or ring wear.

The valve guides on cylinders 1 and 3 might be worn more than on the other two cylinders.

This will allow oil to seep past the valve stems into the combustion chambers, especially if the valve stem oil seals are not up to their task.

If you draw a blank on the compression test, the valve guides become a distinct possibility.

Another possibility would be a misfire on cylinders 1 and 3, which allows oil to accumulate on these plugs instead of their being burnt clean continually. Since you don't mention anything about a misfire, I have ruled this out.

Yet another possibility, also unlikely, is a blocked crankcase ventilation system which causes a build-up of pressure in the crankcase, forcing oil vapour past the oil-control rings.

I am afraid that, statistically, the most likely cause is worn bores and or rings, meaning you are facing either an engine overhaul or getting a remanufactured engine.

There's an excellent video showing the construction and operation of the Ford Rocam engine, at this website: http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/technical-stuff-20607-ikon-rocam-engine-insides-revealed-animation.html

I happen to have some personal experience of the Rocam engine and I have a high regard for it. Let's hope your problem is a minor one.

My job situation changed in April and I found a new job with a good income. I currently own a Citi Golf 2003 model on which there is still a settlement amount outstanding.

I want to buy another car, but I don't want to trade in my Citi. If I buy a car with a maximum retail value of R160 000, can I get the dealer to settle my Citi and load the outstanding amount onto the value of the new car? Number one, is this possible? Secondly, I had a loan account with African Bank and it happened that there were payment defaults.

Now I have a judgment against my name, but that account was fully paid last November and I received a letter from them confirming this. Will this also affect me if I want to buy the car?

Please Help.

Peter

I put your questions to the financial manager of a car dealership. Her answer to the question whether it is possible to "load" the hire purchase deal for the new car with the settlement amount of the Citi Golf, was a very firm and frosty, "No, that would be illegal."

As for the fact that you have a judgment against your name, she stated that this would be taken into account when a bank considers your application for credit. They might show some leniency, but they very seldom do. All in all, it seems best to first pay off the Citi Golf fully and wait for your name to be removed from the blacklist, before buying another car.

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