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Old 03-02-2007, 12:22 PM   #21
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Before you go adjusting the valves espically if they are loose (too much clearance) you should take it out for a good high speed run on the highway and blow out any carbon. You could be seating the valves on a deposit of carbon on the valve seats or valves themselves. The last thing you want to do is tighten up the clearance and then have the carbon blow out and end up with valves that don't close. The reason that there are no hydralic adjusters in most overhead cam engines is that there is no need - there are no long pushrods that expand and contract with engine temps to be compensated for if the cam is pushing a lifter bucket right on a valve stem.
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Old 03-02-2007, 02:02 PM   #22
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Wasn't it larry's chain breaking that totalled his old saturn?

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Old 03-02-2007, 02:12 PM   #23
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Seafoam!

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Before you go adjusting the valves espically if they are loose (too much clearance) you should take it out for a good high speed run on the highway and blow out any carbon. You could be seating the valves on a deposit of carbon on the valve seats or valves themselves. The last thing you want to do is tighten up the clearance and then have the carbon blow out and end up with valves that don't close. The reason that there are no hydralic adjusters in most overhead cam engines is that there is no need - there are no long pushrods that expand and contract with engine temps to be compensated for if the cam is pushing a lifter bucket right on a valve stem.
Since its so windy right now (still 25, gusting to 40mph), the plan was to do a Seafoam cleanse tonight (too embarassing to do in the daylight hours )

...then tomorrow morning I'll see what that does when I run some errands, then I'll leave it unplugged and cold for adjustments on Sunday if need-be.

I already ran it up yesterday, and all I could really note was that I didn't remember it being so fast to redline. Then again, I hadn't done that for a while in this car as it's getting older and it's not best on the old FE to do it weekly, per se. Then I thought, "This car has too much power, it's heavy, blah-blah". Otherwise it wouldn't be a challenge, right

RH77

EDIT: cfg83 -- stop what you're doing, grab your owner's manual, and find out the chain replacement interval. If you know when (if) it was replaced, then go from there.
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Old 03-02-2007, 02:19 PM   #24
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Don't worry too much. I did hear that the '97 Saturn SL/SL1 had a higher than usual rate of chain failure. I think I also heard that changes were made starting in '98 that pretty much solved that problem.
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Old 03-02-2007, 02:21 PM   #25
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rh77: I'd say it's no more complicated than doing the brake calipers, and probably easier. It takes a little time, but it's not bad. I would recommend that you just get a new valve cover gasket to replace the old one with. On mine I've used the old cover and put a thin film of silicon rubber on, to seal it, but I'd only give that a 50/50 chance of sealing, given my experience. I've done it largely cause I'm pretty cheapy.

The Honda's seem to use some material that is pretty pliable, until it's heated up by the engine running. Then it takes on a more solid set and it can be a pain to get them to seal. I've never had a new gasket leak, so that would be my A. recommendation.

The valve adjustment procedure on Honda's is to do them while the engine is cold. I've done them warm, but I don't recommend it, for two reasons. First, the specification is for them cold. Second, it is a real pain and very uncomfortable to do when the engine is heated. I have rechecked and made very minor adjustments to the valves, in the cases where I've done them hot and I don't think the differences were really significant, but since the specification is for doing it with the engine cold, that is the way I'd go.

As far as frequency of the adjustment, I typically don't adjust mine, except when I replace the timing belt. I presume they could go out of adjustment enough, maybe, to create a problem, in the mean time, but I sure haven't seen enough variation from specification, to cause me to change. I usually try to do the timing belt about every 50,000 or so, but I probably really have a leaning towards more like 70,000, before I start reminding myself enough to get the belt and do the work.

If you've done the timing belt and water pump, that is probably more of a chore than the valve adjustment.

One core advantage to solid lifters is that they aren't going to start failing, like hydraulic adjusters can and not having to try to figure out or replace a hydraulic lifter is something I like. I have had hydraulic lifters completely quit filling with oil, but other than making the valve train clatter like mad, it doesn't seem to affect the valves themselves. Is annoying, but not functionally threatening.
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Old 03-02-2007, 07:32 PM   #26
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Post Seafoam

Well, the Seafoam has been run-through. Honestly, use in a WELL ventilated area. This is the 3rd treatment and it just smokes the living daylights out of the neighborhood. Thank goodness for the wind.

The funny part is taking it out on the highway and running it up -- it just looks like the engine threw a rod, but by the time I'm home, it's smooth as silk and no smoking.

I did a higher-load, light acceleration on a hill that generally produces the clatter. The treatment seems to have quieted-down the overall noise by a large margin, but the clatter is still slightly present. My guess is that the PCV catch liquid coated the valves in a sticky carbon build-up and caused the excessive noise. Hopefully, all that is gone with the white smoke, but the adjustment probably needs done for good measure.

I'll probably give it another day of listening and see if it requires a day of my weekend to play around with. The valve cover is leaking a bit of oil anyway, so I'd probably go the whole route and get the proper gasket for longevity. At any rate, it's going to need an oil change after the Seafoam (as does the TSX -- the oil change monitor says it's time) -- so off to the warehouse store for a couple gallons of oil.

In the meantime, thanks again to all for the education in engine maintenance!

RH77
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Old 03-02-2007, 07:40 PM   #27
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Wow- I guess that's the price you gotta pay to have an 8000 rpm redline.
try 6800 its just a regular teg
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I did a higher-load, light acceleration on a hill that generally produces the clatter. The treatment seems to have quieted-down the overall noise by a large margin, but the clatter is still slightly present. My guess is that the PCV catch liquid coated the valves in a sticky carbon build-up and caused the excessive noise. Hopefully, all that is gone with the white smoke, but the adjustment probably needs done for good measure.

I'll probably give it another day of listening and see if it requires a day of my weekend to play around with. The valve cover is leaking a bit of oil anyway, so I'd probably go the whole route and get the proper gasket for longevity. At any rate, it's going to need an oil change after the Seafoam (as does the TSX -- the oil change monitor says it's time) -- so off to the warehouse store for a couple gallons of oil.

In the meantime, thanks again to all for the education in engine maintenance!

RH77
i think the gunk did cause the noise but not because it coated the valves. it started causing noise by the same reason it decreases your fuel economy. it lowers the octane of your air/fuel ratio, leading to mild detonation. i am positive that is what was the issue. who put the pcv valve in upside down???
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Old 03-02-2007, 08:08 PM   #28
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diamondlarry and RH77 -

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Don't worry too much. I did hear that the '97 Saturn SL/SL1 had a higher than usual rate of chain failure. I think I also heard that changes were made starting in '98 that pretty much solved that problem.
Thanks for the info. This makes sense because I remember reading once that 1999 was a "good year" for my Saturn in terms of reliability. I plan on calling up the Saturn dealer and checking on the service record. Technically, I have the record, but not all in front of me. I know the chain must be the original. I got it used at 36K miles, so I can't believe it was switched before then.

This just fed into my year long paranoia :
Tapping Valves or Timing Chain or ?!?!?!?!?
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/showthread.php?t=93037

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Old 03-02-2007, 08:18 PM   #29
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6750, and the body shop

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That's the problem, the engine can really crank out some power from 4000-6750 RPM (even with the automatic)...
Is it 6750? Just guessing. I'll take a look at the SG as it records the max RPM.

After the ice incident and consequent visit to the body shop, I got the car back with the PCV catch bottle upside-down and the about 5cc of gunk sucked back up into the intake. I realized it after popping the hood about 200-300 miles later, to replace the windshield washer fluid. I was a bit upset, as you could imagine. The whole point of the device was defeated. Hopefully the latest cleanse will have taken care of the influx. The PCV valve was fine, it was my catch device that was moved, inspected, or just plain messed-with.

It didn't run any different until I noted the clatter.

RH77

EDIT: the SG showed a max of 6637 RPM. I let it run a bit higher in 2nd before manually shifting into D3. Redline is probably 6500 -- It didn't hit fuel-cut, which is probably 6750-6800. Yup, it's no ITR. Now ask me about my old '99 Civic Si with the B16a2
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Old 03-02-2007, 08:39 PM   #30
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RH77-

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Is it 6750? Just guessing. I'll take a look at the SG as it records the max RPM.

After the ice incident and consequent visit to the body shop, I got the car back with the PCV catch bottle upside-down and the about 5cc of gunk sucked back up into the intake. I realized it after popping the hood about 200-300 miles later, to replace the windshield washer fluid. I was a bit upset, as you could imagine. The whole point of the device was defeated. Hopefully the latest cleanse will have taken care of the influx. The PCV valve was fine, it was my catch device that was moved, inspected, or just plain messed-with.

It didn't run any different until I noted the clatter.

RH77

EDIT: the SG showed a max of 6637 RPM. I let it run a bit higher in 2nd before manually shifting into D3. Redline is probably 6500 -- It didn't hit fuel-cut, which is probably 6750-6800. Yup, it's no ITR. Now ask me about my old '99 Civic Si with the B16a2
That's one thing I know I want to avoid. With all the stuff going on under my hood, I feel like I need to do a "cleaning out" before I take my car into the shop. I know I can't go to a Saturn dealer anymore. They would tell me about how I am going to shoot my eye out, .

The PCV catch can shouldn't have been messed with, though. That is not a "whacky device" to add to a car.

Possible Shop Mantra : If it ain't stock, it's coming off!!!!!!!!!!!!

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