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Discussion Starter #1
Hi there !

Ok I know I'm on a LH forum but administrators on Stratusphere.net haven't validated my account since I joined their forum in May 2013!

The timing belt on my brother's Stratus was due and I thought I could do it, like on my 300M... WHAT A MISTAKE! This engine is a FPINA and I'm polite...

To reach the right timing cover (near the firewall) you have to remove the P/S pump and unbolt 3 bolts on its bracket, and loosen the 4th one... And to do that you have to remove the upper intake manifold.

So what started as a weekend project turned to a 3 weeks project... EGR tube gasket, upper manifold gasket, etc... Go find them at your local car guy shop in Europe! If you tell me you can get those gaskets in a day, I'll offer you a bottle of Champagne! Oh and the dealership never returned my call for parts!


Anyway... As spark plugs are underneath the UIM, I decided I should replace them as well and bought 6 Champion ones on RockAuto, same as original.
I noted some oil drips in the tubes but I didn't want to replace both valve cover gaskets (didn't have the parts anyway), thinking it could last a bit longer.

The water pump is also a mess because it has a bracket between the pump and the heads, and a pipe running in the engine valley. 3 gaskets in total just for this f... hum... for this baby ;)


When installing the belt (right to the left, engine wise) the right camshaft jumped 1/4 turn clockwise!!!
I quickly turned it back on time but I was so afraid of what it could have caused that I missed the TDC and the cam jumped again 1/4 turn counterclockwise! Then I finally took it back to TDC and ran the belt around all pulleys, idler, cranck pully and tensionner.

Right after applying tension on the belt, the right camshaft seamed to go off by 1 tooth clockwise. Once again, I took the belt off and realigned everything.
I checked the timing at least twice, turned the engine 2 full turns clockwise, double-twice-checked the timing... Everything was ok :) so I reassembled all parts and started the engine...

It started badly... But the car is running on full E85 fuel. Idle was really rough, going up and down like a yoyo. When pushing the accelerator the RPM would go down (like the engine was starving for its food) then up. Idle stabilized when the temp got higher. It's cold outside.

Anyway it's still noisy and I'm wondering what I did wrong. Could it be a sparkplug?
I really hope it's not a valve or a rocker arm...

 

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Discussion Starter #2
Hey there,

So I ran a compression check on the right bank with a friend, all cylinders are OK. I guess we can say valves are still intact ^^.
We also took the valve cover off, rocker arms look in good shape, no sign of crack or bent. We also removed the intake rocker arms and checked the lash adjusters... Well they look good but it's almost impossible to tell for sure.

I'm thinking of replacing (or getting someone replacing) all of them, on both shaft. 12 lifters in total...
 

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as you get closer to the engine, you also get closer to the rear of the engine.
while it sounds more like lifters, it could also be an exhaust leak.
but it sure sounds like a common mitsu, just like it's 3L brother, who had troubles with clacking lifters.
replace them if the noise bothers you, or do like many did after a few attempts to fix it and just ignore them.

or, try different weight oils to see if it will quiet them.
oh, and like the 3L, i've done a few belts on them to know what a pain they are.
sounds like you made it as hard as possible.
i've never removed the intake yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well to be honest the two bolts holding the P/S pump bracket gave me so much pain I decided to go easier. I can now take this upper manifold out of the way in 10 minutes!

Is this engine designed for E85? I'd say no. But it runs well when weather is warm. I drove this car from Paris to my dad's place with only E85 fuel in it, The car rested for an entire weekend while I was helping a friend painting another car.
She had troubles starting of course, but that's all.
Now it's colder and I know the amount of unleaded fuel in this E85 blend is lower than it should be for winter.

My 3.5L 300M runs often on E85 too, when I can find a station for it. You know, unleaded is $7 a gallon, E85 fuel runs around $4 to $5 a gal. And unleaded is more expensive on highways, around $8 to $9 a gal!

Lifters... They were OK before I shocked them when messing the timing belt. They were not making a sound!
I never touched the exhaust... Why would it be leaking now? It never did...
Could it simply be a faulty sparkplug? Bad ignition?

The Stratus is at a repair shop for now, their tech guy is quiting the shop but I know the boss and I want to be sure it's the lifters before taking everything apart again ^^

And btw, two more videos.

Reving up the engine...

Starting the car. CEL, I forgot to plug the throttle sensor ^^
 

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does that still have a distributor? sounds a little late on timing.
since it's driven off the cam, could the cam be out a tooth on timing?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yes there is a distributor on these engines. But again, this is not something I touched. I only replaced the plugs.
I checked the timing again the other day. Both cams are on time with each other. However I could not remove the lower belt cover because of the harmonic balancer. There is a timing mark on the cover and on the balancer so I think the timing is ok. But I know, it's not very accurate.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hey!

End of story, hydraulic lash adjusters were dead... I replaced them this weekend with my dad. Note that without the special tools designed to hold the lifters in the arms, two more hands are required!

I received the new DNJ lifters on wednesday, they were "hard" and it was almost impossible to squeeze them. I realized I made a mistake the first time when I removed the intake arm... I could squeeze the lifters.
When we took the intake rocker arm again, lifters were really soft even though we tried to "flush" them, running the engine at 3000 rpm for a few minutes. Exhaust lifters however looked good to the touch, as hard as the DNJ ones. I replaced them anyway!

And first start after lifters replacement, engine is still warming up:

Engine warmed-up and reved up to 3000 rpm twice:

I feel SOOOOOOOO light right now! ^^

I kept the "good" OEM lifters in a box full of engine oil just in case, and tried to flush the bad ones manually using a stick to force the valve open. I could "harden" the two of them I tried to fix... So I saved them all. Once again, just in case ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I still have backfires and "I-gonna-stall" issues when accelerating (even lightly) ONLY when cold but I think it's related to E85 fuel. My brother filled the tank with regular unleaded 95 (I think it's 87 in the USA), the tank was about 20% full of E85.

Well... Current mix is then 20% E85 and 80% Unleaded.
He didn't call me this morning so I guess it's OK now ;)
 
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