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Camchains/tensioners/guides replacement finished

Discussion in 'VZ Holden Commodore (2004 - 2006)' started by Jhovel, Oct 26, 2019.

  1. Jhovel

    Jhovel New Member

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    Hi all.
    My 2005 VZ Alloytech wouldn't start one day a couple of months ago. Since it had been making cam chain noise for a year or so, I figured that it had finally ran out of safe range of cam vs. crank sensor angles. Everything else seemed OK.
    After searching for and reading many many posts here about how to go about it, I managed to buy a chain and tensioner/guide set on eBay for a good price (presumably from someone who had given up on the idea).
    So I started dismantling what was required, until I got the rocker covers off.

    WHOAW! I have never seen an engine as gunky as that in my life!

    What to do? I decided to try out what chemicals I had on hand to see if anything would dissolve the amazing mess. I had no intention of completely dismantling the engine and scrub everything clean! Almost nothing would touch it - other than softening it. Finally I tried oven cleaner on the rocker covers. It dissolved the whole mess and I was able to just wash it off. Of course you cant use the stuff (caustic soda) on aluminium parts, as it etches or dissolves their surfaces very quickly.... Mind you, at that point I felt like dissolving the entire engine!
    Next I went to Bunnings and looked for non-caustic oven cleaner. I found non-caustic BBQ cleaner that sounded promising. It worked!
    So next I learnt from here how to get the sump off without removing the engine. Tedious, but quite successful! Thanks guys!
    Then I foamed every thing in the rocker spaces, inside the crank case (from below) and the sump with BBQ cleaner. I left it on for about 1/2hr and wiped here and there to see if it was clean under the resulting "soup". A few places required more foaming :) and another half hour soaking.
    I then fired up the 13HP high pressure cleaner (4000psi) and set the jet to small.
    Everything inside the engine I could reach got a thorough high pressure shower and all the gunk and suds got washed out quite well. Some staining remained here and there, but no more crusts or sludge. The sump required two goes.
    The oil pick-up was as good as blocked and very crusty. So it got a bath with caustic oven cleaner (it's steel and therefore safe).
    Next I sprayed everything with WD40 to displace any remaining water. Then I washed out the oil passages with degreaser and then lots of kero, using a hose and funnel connected to the oil outlet inside the filter housing. Very little gunk came out and the kero seemed to travel to all the crankshaft bearings easily - and ran out into a pan under the engine.
    The new chains went on in the right order and position easily, so dis the new guides and tensioners. When I was happy with the installation I pulled the safety pins on the tensioners and turned the engine over which a spanner after removing all spark plugs, to make sure everything turned as expected.
    Next I thoroughly cleaned and poked in the cam angle hydraulic relays/fittings, because a lot of the kero ran out of their holes. I then repeated the kero washout of the oil passages to ensure some came out of the various passages in the rocker boxes.
    After that, I refitted everything, with the sump being the trickiest part.
    New spark plugs, oil and filter, water to rinse cooling system, battery back in etc etc.
    Turned the key, started first go! Hurray!
    Lots of urgent messages to have the car serviced soon - ha ha ha. Well they got cancelled pretty quickly.... I think every engine error code imaginable was logged there :)
    Lots of smoke from the oil I had put in the spark plug holes to make the turning over easier for a few seconds, then a VERY quiet idle for a couple of minutes.
    Test drive tonight with the heater on full - everything fine.
    So tomorrow morning she'll get proper coolant, and then an 80km test drive and then her first oil and filter change. I'm very curious to see how much dirt the oil will pick up - and even more curious to look at the oil filter!
    By the way, I'm using synthetic diesel engine oil and probably will continue using to to keep the engine as clean as I can from now on. If I get any piston blow-by as a result, I'll know soon enough and can go back to other oils, but I doubt it, frankly. At 230,000k, the pistons and rings should still be reasonably tight.....

    The pictures tell the story....
     

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    stick3 and mdjbags like this.
  2. shane_3800

    shane_3800 Active Member

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    Meh I've seen worse. I've done chains on worse too and the customer just wanted them done when we recomended an engine rebuild. Btw the hot wash at my work uses caustic soda and is safe with aluminum maybe it's the dilution ratio?
     
  3. Fu Manchu

    Fu Manchu Well-Known Member

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    Bloody awesome write up.
    Would never have taken something like that on. Ballsy old school cleaning and some logic in how it’s done.

    They say the chains are a hard thing to position correctly. Sounds like you didn’t have too much problems.

    Looks like you plugged the spark plug hole, what did you use for that?

    Engine looks the shizz now.

    Might try some BBQ cleaner on some oil marks I have on the drive.
     
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  4. mdjbags

    mdjbags New Member

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    Awesome write up. Looks very clean. How did it go after the first 80km, oil change...and beyond?
     
  5. immortality

    immortality Home of the smoky breakfast Bacon! Staff Member

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    Nice work.

    Part of the problem with these engines is the service interval is too long and the other is the pathetic PCV system that gets blocked up. I don't think the diesel oil will effect the motor, I do the same once is a while to give the engine a good clean.
     
  6. Jhovel

    Jhovel New Member

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    Thanks guys. Not quite there yet after all....
    I test drove the car carefully around the block a couple of times first. All seemed good, but the "check drive train" came back.... :(
    But since all worked well, I must cleared it and went for a 50km drive. Suddenly the temp gauge went to its limit and the engine went into limp home mode. The coolant was full, not much pressure and nothing seemed hot....
    So cleared the "143°C coolant" fault and drove home gently. Turned out that the sensor turned its toes up. Replaced oil, (dirty) and filter (some lumps) and sensor. No more faults! Starts and runs fine - gently driven.....
    Then I gave it the boot. It won't rev over 5000 rpm and sounds awful....
    Any ideas?
    All I can think of is the cams aren't adjusting.... I can't figure out how the advance works or how to test the solenoids.
    Any help here?
    Cheers
    Joe
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2019
  7. EYY

    EYY Well-Known Member

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    Probably still moisture under the coilpacks. Get the engine warm and remove plenum and coils and leave for a few hours. Should help it to dry out - but I'd be tempted to replace plugs too.

    Personally I'd never pressure wash inside an engine like that without fully disassembling. Forcing dirt and moisture into bearing journals with high pressure wont do it any good.
     
  8. Fu Manchu

    Fu Manchu Well-Known Member

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    Did you bleed the air from the coolant?

    You can get new cam solenoids/phasers from Amazon US. Quite cheap. Many post to Australia.

    Cadillac CTS is what you are looking for. Had same engine.
     
  9. Jhovel

    Jhovel New Member

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    No moisture ever got to the plug packs or sparkplugs. And everything has been sitting in open air for days in 30°+ temperatures anyway.
    I personally would not pressure wash an engine internally either - except this one. There was that option or totally dismantling it.... Not sensible for a car with a final value of less than $2000....

    Does anyone know how the cam timing hydraulics work? I'm not replacing random parts without knowing that they are faulty - unlike the dealer workshops I have dealt with over the past 40 years - at my cost.....
     
  10. 99notout

    99notout Active Member

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    See if this helps.
     

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  11. Jhovel

    Jhovel New Member

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    Thanks for that!
    Cheers
    Joe
     
  12. 99notout

    99notout Active Member

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    No worries, sing out if you need anything else.
     

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