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Thanks guys for the information. Everything everyone has said, echoes what I think. I explained the problem I’d had, how I took it to a shop prior, and still had poor results. No one listens. A place that specializes in JZs should have checked the seats/valves/guides/etc. For what I paid PowerDynamix it should’ve been as good/better than new. So what I am planning on doing, is calling my bank first to see what - if any - recourse I have. I’d take a partial refund even, but if my bank says there’s no chance, then I won’t bother. I’m not real keen on going back to a place that did subpar work. I trusted the shop the first time to do it and now there is no trust. It’s kinda like sending food back to the kitchen at a restaurant. Everybody’s seen Waiting. You know what happens. I guess I had too high of expectations.

My wife has told me that whatever I do next, I HAVE to get it fixed this time, or get rid of the car. She’s over me being in a funk because the car is down, wasting money, and plus she wants the garage to not look like a reject F&F deleted scene. So I am going to do some soulsearching for a good JZ shop.
So Jeff at Powerdynamix did the work? That is surprising. If they did the work, we should start passing the word around to everyone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #123 · (Edited)
Powerdynamix did the work?
Yes. Jeff seems like a nice guy and seems like he knows his stuff. I know he builds race engines and has been around a long time. I took the head to him about mid March and got it back the first week of May. Plenty of time to go through it and figure out what’s wrong. There wasn’t any communication either. I had to call and see if it was ready every couple weeks. I’m not one to sweat somebody at their job, but I also like to be informed of what’s going on. Like if something unusual/more expensive is broken.
 

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Tricky situation to navigate; it could become adversarial very quickly so you'll need to be careful not to get him on the defensive. In my opinion, an ideal outcome would be the shop getting it done right. That might mean some extra work - such as a few new seats and/or valves (just saying it's possible)... Personally, I'd have no problem paying for those extras, but I wouldn't want to pay for the "valvejob" portion again. I'd be ok with splitting the freight, where I paid one way and he paid the other.

Step one would be get him to agree your test approach is valid.
Step two is him agreeing the valid test indicates the valves are leaking
Three is him agreeing they ought not leak
Four is him agreeing he is capable of performing a VJ that doesn't leak

As you've found, there are head shops that think it's ok for a fresh VJ to leak. If he won't agree it shouldn't, I'd go elsewhere to a shop that will commit to a leak-free VJ.

But don't take my word for it - call a few high end head shops, and ask them if heads done by them will leak past the valves when you perform a leakdown check on your reassembled longblock. There's tons of great shops that do LS heads - so maybe call a few of them. Texas Speed, Frankenstein Engine Dynamics, MAST Motorsports, West Coast Cylinder Head, Total Engine Airflow, to name a few. The point is to gain confidence that you don't have unreasonable expectations regarding valve leakage after a fresh, quality VJ.

Edit to add: For some reason, Total Engine Airflow never occurred to me regarding a 2J cylinder head - but I'll bet they'd happily set up a 2J head. I've used them for V8 stuff a lot and they are excellent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #125 ·
Tricky situation to navigate; it could become adversarial very quickly so you'll need to be careful not to get him on the defensive.

I called him this afternoon. He was cordial, I was cordial. Last thing I want to do is make any one mad, I just want some resolution. He was very helpful and listened to my questions and let me pick his brain for awhile. He remembered me and my issue so that made me feel good. Said they went over the head and paid good attention to the valves and seats. He wasn’t convinced it’s the valves. He said the seats seldom get damaged on a JZ head, same for a crack - said you’d have to really overheat/detonate/mis-time it. Says the leakdown will improve after running too.

He had me shine a light in the combustion chamber and check for any gross light getting thru to the ports - I didn’t see any. He said I could take the valves out of #2 and check for trash at the mating surface - there was some reddish residue in there I guess from the process. Told me to check the valve stem seals and make sure they weren’t torn or the spring wasn’t missing. Said there’s no possible way for the air to come up thru where the valve springs are and that if I hear air there, it had to be bad rings leaking up thru the oil drain ports in the head.

So I took #2’s valves out, and cleaned the mating area up real good. There was some hard red stuff like rust, I guess from the Valve job process. The stem seals looked great and the seats didn’t have any visible cracks. I looked the valves over and didn’t see any bent or out of round. I put the head back on and torqued it down. I’m getting pretty good at that. 😁

I did a leakdown. It’s better. This is without my intake and exhaust caps over the ports on cyl 2. I guess the residue at the mating surface was causing the loss? This is cams out btw.

1. 15%
2. 18%
3. 10%
4. 5%
5. 5%
6. 7%

So that’s better, not perfect, but better. And if it really does improve with run-in, that’s great. I don’t know how #1 got worse - it was at 10%.


The point is to gain confidence that you don't have unreasonable expectations regarding valve leakage after a fresh, quality VJ.
He wouldn’t agree that zero leakage is attainable. States it’s normal to have bubbling from carb cleaner squirted on top of the valve head and pressurizing the cyl. “A little bubble is OK, not a lot though.” All six cylinders bubble like boiling water both intake and exhaust side. I think I’m just going to reassemble it, reinstall it, and see what she does.
 

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Discussion Starter · #127 ·
still think it'll run just fine
I’m sure you’re correct. You’ve said that several times. I’m not shooting for max hp here. I think I am overthinking it. I hope I am. I guess if not, I’ll save up and buy a brand new rebuilt long block. I’m sick of chasing this one. Right now I’m waiting still on Toyota to get some things to reassemble it. I think I’m going to pick up what they have for me and get the things they can’t somewhere else. Try to get the engine reassembled in the next week or so and then put the car back together.
 

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Sounds to me like they didn't clean off the lapping paste properly, or maybe the marking blue used to check it. Not a train smash but could well be enough to hold it open a fraction. Air will easily vent out of 0.005mm (~0.0002") in a plastic injection mould so you can imagine it wouldn't take much to hold mating surfaces like valves apart just enough for air to leak out. At least the guy sounds like he is will to listen to any concerns and has some valid reasoning, i am no pro on valves sealing so i guess i would take his word for it over mine.

Personally i would probably go with what he and Hodgson said and throw it together. If nothing else running it for a bit will cause the valves to bed in and seal better anyway, just let it settle and bed in for a bit before giving it any beans ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #129 ·
Sounds to me like they didn't clean off the lapping paste properly
Yeah, it was rust-orange colored and pretty hard. Like a hard water deposit. It took my fingernail to break it loose. It was exactly on those two valve seats I mentioned earlier too - I think it was I4 and E3. Pretty wild that was what was causing it. It may have been me spinning the valves around too.


At least the guy sounds like he is will to listen to any concerns and has some valid reasoning
Yeah, he was friendly, gave me plenty of time to talk and think it over. I have pretty terrible luck so no surprise it happened to me, and then for the non-sealing valves to be on the same cylinder that was giving me grief prior - I guess I had about had it and was ready to start blaming somebody. I’ve been at this shizz since Janauary, so hopefully I’ll get some resolve soon.


before giving it any beans ;)
Yessir we got to break in that new McCleod twin disk before doing anything!
 

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Discussion Starter · #130 ·
Got the head back on and cams installed. Still need to install the COP sequential spark and the cover. Not dicking with checking leakdown or compression. It’ll run or it won’t lol.

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I deleted the stock oil cooler and put a GE oil housing on it. Don’t hate the Fram filter haha. I just bought it so it would stop pissing oil out when I was turning the engine over by hand. Usually I use stock Yota filters or Mobil1. I degreased the lower half and washed it good. May give it a blast with a hi temp rattle can. Ordered some coolant hose plugs to delete the throttle body-coolant loop.

I went ahead and ordered a water pump front half, a new hydro tensioner, timing belt, and all the little coolant gaskets and orings. I figure it’s not much more money and easier to do while the engine is out. If I find out the engine is still fubar’ed, then I’ll pretty much just need a new oil pump to to bolt on the new short block. I’ll have to get this clutch and TOB paid off first.
 

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What's wrong with a Fram filter? Over here they have a fairly good reputation, have bought them before and will again if the price is right.

Freaks me out leaving interference engines without a timing belt on, scared some idiot (like me when I'm not thinking about it :rolleyes: ) will knock it and spin the crank...
 

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Discussion Starter · #132 ·
What's wrong with a Fram filter?
Nothing, I used to use them for years. There used to be a lot of Fram bashing on the internet, and I drank the Kool-aide and stopped using Fram. Every brand filter is prolly all made in the same factory in Guangdong now, anyways.


Freaks me out leaving interference engines without a timing bel
Yep and it’s definitely interference. If you get the timing off a tooth, it will not turn. I had to put away my ratchet and 22mm socket for the crank bolt. The urge is too great to spin the engine and make the VTEC noises with my mouth 😜
 

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Discussion Starter · #133 ·
Well, I have hit a snag here with my water pump. I ordered a non VVTi GTE 93-98 Supra water pump front half. It fits my current water pump back half. But my current pulley does not fit the new front half water pump. I know I bought a new water pump front half when I GTE swapped 5 years ago. I’m pretty sure I got it from RA too.

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I’m holding the new half, the old pulley and old half are on the floor. I think this will fix me up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #135 ·
couldn’t you just get a VVTi front half?
Man, I think that was what I did 5 years ago. I should have made a note for my self. I think once you get a USDM back half, you can put a VVTI or nonVVTi /GE or GTE front half onto it. So I should have just got an IS300 front half and been done. Oh well. Now that I got a SoOpRa front half and a DM pulley I will hopefully be driftin all over town soon 😝
 

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Discussion Starter · #139 ·
Got the transmission mated to the engine. The input shaft would not seat into the pilot bearing. I had to loosen the pressure plate and mate the motor and trans, then tighten it all back up through the inspection cover. I think maybe it was because of it being a twin disk, there was too many things to get lined up? I don’t know. Air gap looks pretty good, it’s a bit wider than the thickness of my Starrett straightedge, maybe 1.5 thicknesses if that’s even a word.

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I finished getting everything but the alternator put back on the engine. That’s a five minute job, though. Its so damn hot and humid here you can’t work but in little short bursts. The garage has central heat and air, which is weird because that would never pass code, but it’s nice during the extreme temps. Plan is to reinstall the motor and trans next Saturday. After that, I’ll see how I feel about hooking everything back up and starting it Sunday. May be a “weekend after next” kind of thing.

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Discussion Starter · #140 ·
Alright gents, she lives! I put the engine in Saturday and started hooking everything back up. Finished up today. Bled the clutch and topped up the fluids. It fired off and came up to temp normally. Thank God!

The new clutch will be a learning experience for me. Been about 7 months since I’ve driven a MT. I rolled the dice and took it out wearing flip flops - that was always a no-no with my old set up. The old ACT was stiff and heavy and you had to have good shoes on. It doesn’t take much pedal and you’re there now. It’s crazy how light it is. I still need to set the clutch pedal stop, so I won’t be driving it anywhere else til I get that done.

Anything I should do/not do to bed that new headgasket in? Is that even a thing? No boost till the clutch is broken in, of course. It was real hard not to not at least hit 0psi 🥹.
 
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