93 Ford Ranger Blown Head Repair
I am trying to determine what is reasonable regarding a recent repair. I own
an old ford ranger. I ran into mechanical issues and was told the heads
were cracked and needed to be replaced. I paid to have the job done
noting that the engine had 130k miles on it. Upon completion of the job, I
picked up the truck which seemed to drive well. Unfortunately it is now
burning oil like crazy. 1 quart every 75 miles or so. When I reported the
issue to the mechanic he said it probably needed a ring job. Added
pressure of the new head apparently revealing worn out rings. My question
is...... should he have known this prior to doing the work? Isn't there some
responsibility on his end? I entered into this believing that the heads would
fix the truck. I know this is a very old truck but should he have known and
advised me? Thanks for any help. Trying to decide next steps.
If it didn't use oil before the heads were replaced and was hasn't been overheated, I would suspect something with the replacement heads such as valve guide seals or excessive clearance in the valve guide itself to be the cause. A compression test and / or leak down test might shed light onto this issue. Pulling the spark plugs and having a look at them might also be helpful.
He should have let you known given the condition and age/mileage of the motor heads alone wouldn't be a cure-all. You had a cracked head, the mating surface on the block should also have been checked. The new heads only restored proper compression, if the rings were gone then new heads or not they were going to go. This was a serious failing on your mechanic's end, they should have addressed the rings at that time. You don;t mention if these are factory new heads or rebuilt/used heads, as valve guide seals can be leaking even on new heads. Compression and leak down tests need to be done.
Truck isn't over heating and you wouldn't even notice the excessive oil use if it were for blue smoke on rapid acceleration. Actually runs pretty good but using a lot of oil. Mechanic seems puzzled and unfortunately out of state. Truck broke down when I was away from home. Thanks for your help. Presently he isn't taking any responsibility for doing anything wrong and I don't know enough to say whether he is or isn't.
They weren't used heads but I don't know if they were factory new heads. He purchased them from a machine shop that does a lot of work for him. So he says...... Claims to never have experienced anything like this before.
Smoke at startup? or idle? How about under acceleration or deceleration? If you have an oil fill cap on the valve covers pop them off or pull off the PCV, then gun the motor and look for smoke. You might even want to check the intake bolts/gasket. You say burning a lot of oil but don't mention seeing smoke.
There is no visible smoke when idling and under normal acceleration. Relative to smoke on startup, it is pretty cold around here so it is hard to tell if it is condensation or smoke but I believe it is condensation. The only time I see visible smoke (likely oil burning) is when I quickly accelerate under load, like on a hill. Then I see a clear cloud of smoke. I also have a lot of carbon on the inside of the tail pipe. I will try your test today (i.e., oil fill cap pulled) and look for smoke. If I see a lot of smoke what will that tell me. I also changed pvc valve in case it might be faulty. Not sure whether to view this as a lost cause or try to fix it. Kind of stinks given I dropped $1800 on the repair. Given the age, I would have junked it if I knew this was going to happen. I don't have a lot of confidence the mechanic is going to do much. Guess that is what I get on a repair out of town.
Breaking down on the road is the worst possible situation, especially if it's a rush job. For a 93 Ranger, you could find decent used motors fairly cheap, half what you paid for those heads. There is no way to remove the pan and replace rings with engine in truck, it has to come out, but pulling these engines is not that hard, if you wanted to DIY. Or try a mobile mechanic, or line up some help from skilled friends. However I would still do a leak-down test just to see what you're dealing with.
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