Starting a rebuild - what would you do?

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Aug 12, 2019
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Washington
My '96 FZJ80 started misfiring pretty badly driving home the other day. I scanned a P0302 (cylinder 2 misfire), as well as another code I forget, but corresponds to some EGR malfunction. Long story short, in checking the spark plugs, my mechanic found oil in several (if not all - I don't recall) of my cylinders. Another joy is that the plug in the sixth cylinder had been broken in half - presumably when the previous owner overtightened/failed removing it at a tough angle.

In addition to that, I've got some pretty significant oil leaks on the underside that I haven't traced back to a source. All in all, the engine seems toast, but she's a good truck - triple locked, lifted, with a lot of trails left to roam. Maybe. I'm exploring options now. The goal is to have a reliably powered 80 again while only using as much force as necessary to break the bank..

So: what would you do here - have a shop itemize and fix only what's baseline necessary, full rebuild, engine swap?

TIA.
 
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My '96 FZJ80 started misfiring pretty badly driving home the other day. I scanned a P0302 (cylinder 2 misfire), as well as another code I forget, but corresponds to some EGR malfunction. Long story short, in checking the spark plugs, my mechanic found oil in several (if not all - I don't recall) of my cylinders. Another joy is that the plug in the sixth cylinder had been broken in half - presumably when the previous owner overtightened/failed removing it at a tough angle.

In addition to that, I've got some pretty significant oil leaks on the underside that I haven't traced back to a source. All in all, the engine seems toast, but she's a good truck - triple locked, lifted, with a lot of trails left to roam. Maybe. I'm exploring options now. The goal is to have a reliably powered 80 again while only using as much force as necessary to break the bank..

So: what would you do here - have a shop itemize and fix only what's baseline necessary, full rebuild, engine swap?

TIA.
The answer(s) depend on...
1 Your wallet
2 Your goal re: how solid you want the vehicle to be
3 How long you plan/hope to keep it
4 Your desire (or lack thereof) in wrenching on it yourself, see #1
5 Your timing need to have the vehicle driveable

Etc!

I'll be putting my completely rebuilt engine back in within a day or two. Did everything myself 'cause I wanted a project. Started in July. Did tons of other stuff too.
I want to keep the vehicle, and have it trusty like a cruiser should be.

Define your goals, then achieve them!
Enjoy the journey
 
Joined
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FWIW - I had some random P0302 (and other cylinder codes P0304 etc) turned out to be a CPS (crankshaft positioning sensor) FSM has a test for the CPS which I forget now. If it is the CPS it is fairly straight forward to replace IIRC (long time ago)
 

Comet

Knower of little, master of less.
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I would first stop reading mud. A few years back, I had issues with the engine. I pulled the engine, transmission, and transfer case myself, had the head rebuilt, and replaced every known item that was needed. Come to find out, all I needed to do was have the head decked and replace the valve stem seals. I was going through oil at a rate to the extreme of the FSM (1 quart of oil every 1000K). Now, nothing gone after 3000k.

The oil leaks are normal rustproofing that gives the underside the necessary chance it needs to continue to serve you now and into the future. Most oil leaks are really just basic seals that have hardened over time. As far as the Code 0302-that’s a fault in cylinder two. As far as the oil in the cylinders…..is it in the spark plug tube or the actual cylinder? Does your mechanic have prior experience with the engine in question? I ask because most mechanics will look at our rigs and think they are all used up. While plentiful, a Chevy 350 is not the same animal as the in-line six we all know and love. Has a compression test or leak down test been performed? Did you do a BlackStone oil analysis to determine which if any bearings are wearing out?

The valve cover gasket has six o-ring looking things that seal the top end of the engine from the spark plug tubes. They are like $7 each (price for inflation is surely ten times that cost now) and a simple way to keep oil from migrating into the spark plug tubes.

Short answer: Stop. Breathe. Get more information from a reputable source (if you haven’t gotten that already). Have you looked to the simple answers first? Cap, rotor, OEM wires, valve cover gasket, and the six spark plug tube gaskets I mentioned?

That cylinder six busted spark plug would be the first suspect. The EGR can wait, it’s always an issue because so many things can be out of alignment.
 
Joined
Oct 21, 2020
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MS
Sounds like you need spark plugs, valve cover gasket and spark plug tube seals. From your description that sounds like all that's wrong with it. Probably some of the front gaskets need replacing along with possibly the oil pan gasket. That's about it though.
 

clx16

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X3 ...what @Comet said...

Business must be slow if a mechanic is wanting to rebuild and engine when he broke your sparkplug and found some oil in the tubes....

Yep he broke it because if he didn't it would have been missing on that cylinder the whole time before he got to it. And if he doesnt owe up to being lazy about getting that plug out, don't ask him for advice on engine rebuilds.
 

SmokingRocks

I bought a Cruiser to keep miles off my Cruiser
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get your factory service manual from the link in my description. It will educate you on what level of work would be involved with anything mechanical/electrical on our rigs.
 
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I just did distributor, wires and plugs and found that I had oil in couple of my plug tubes too (new seals/gaskets needed). As the others stated, get other opinions and investigate yourself too. I'm chasing a pre-det on WOT and had to breathe before planning my go at it (...fire> filters> injectors> petrol)- My old LC threw EGR codes (redneck bypass was the fix) and then popped a HG and I have PTSD from that event- so every little thing on this LX engine I encounter spooks me, but slow it down...could be pretty minor things creating the fuss.
 

SmokingRocks

I bought a Cruiser to keep miles off my Cruiser
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100% agreed

An engine rebuild here sounds like it would be throwing $10k at a handful of $10 seals
No no no no NO! NO! Quit being reasonable goddamnit!
Everyone knows the method of troubleshooting that is the most effective, cheapest, good for personal relationships looks like this:
  • Step 1) Intense Panic
  • Step 2) Search forums, conclude everything is f***ed
  • Step 3) Make multiple, expensive rash decisions (Parts Cannon Phase)
  • Step 4) Google "Small Engine Mechanics near me", specifically avoid any shop that has experience with anything foreign (if they can wrench on a briggs then they can handle any japcrap thrown at them, am I right?!)
  • Step 4.5) drop your rig off at their "shop"
  • Step 5) Wait in angst, bottle up all of your stress, let it boil over occasionally, get into several serious fights with your wife.
  • Step 5.5) File for divorce
  • Step 6) Get a "fixed" rig back from Edd the owner of the small engine shop Briggs are Us
  • Step 7) Drive home, park it on the driveway, pat yourself on the back, get blackout drunk on brunettes (just like last night) pass out, I mean go to sleep like a normal person.
  • Step 8) Wake up to see the same pool of oil growing on the driveway below your rig...
  • Step 9) Post a new thread on mud trashing Briggs are Us
  • Step 10) Get flamed for being an idiot, receive actual sound advice which you should immediately disregard
  • Step 11) Shuck any responsibility, let's be honest the era of self-accountability is so last generation
  • Step 12) Sell the rig and buy a 1999 Mustang v6 convertible, complain to everyone that will listen (or won't) about how bad Toyotas are
 
Last edited:
Joined
Dec 17, 2007
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Across the pond, and upside down
No no no no NO! NO! Quit being reasonable goddamnit!
Everyone knows the method of troubleshooting that is the most effective, cheapest, good for personal relationships looks like this:
  • Step 1) Intense Panic
  • Step 2) Search forums, conclude everything is f***ed
  • Step 3) Make multiple, expensive rash decisions (Parts Cannon Phase)
  • Step 4) Google "Small Engine Mechanics near me", specifically avoid any shop that has experience with anything foreign (if they can wrench on a briggs then they can handle any japcrap thrown at them, am I right?!)
  • Step 4.5) drop your rig off at their "shop"
  • Step 5) Wait in angst, bottle up all of your stress, let it boil over occasionally, get into several serious fights with your wife.
  • Step 5.5) File for divorce
  • Step 6) Get a "fixed" rig back from Edd the owner of the small engine shop Briggs are Us
  • Step 7) Drive home, park it on the driveway, pat yourself on the back, get blackout drunk on brunettes (just like last night) pass out, I mean go to sleep like a normal person.
  • Step 8) Wake up to see the same pool of oil growing on the driveway below your rig...
  • Step 9) Post a new thread on mud trashing Briggs are Us
  • Step 10) Get flamed for being an idiot, receive actual sound advice which you should immediately disregard
  • Step 11) Shuck any responsibility, let's be honest the era of self-accountability is so last generation
  • Step 11) Sell the rig and buy a 1999 Mustang v6 convertible, complain to everyone that will listen (or won't) about how bad Toyotas are

You forgot 5.2 - leave partially disassembled rig at Briggs R Us for months on end, despite non-existent communication for the duration, and repeated lies and broken promises on progress.
5.3 - pay Eddie WAY TOO MUCH to secure parts that never arrive while the lies continue

I'm sure there's more
 

Comet

Knower of little, master of less.
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You guys and your half cocked assumptions. I am sure whoever this Eddie is that he is reputable. Otherwise, you would have never over reacted so much in the first place and left your junk at his place. I will slowly back away from this thread now that I have probably offended both the OP and a couple of perfectly reasonable cruiser heads……..I went off the deep end with my repairs, I resemble the $10K solution to a $100 repair. Live and learn, the make more mistakes.
 
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Georgia
Some pretty good advice here so far. As has been said, a whole lot depends on you., your goals and your finances. I also share some suspicion about your mechanic just based on what we have heard so far. "Oil in the cylinders" ? If there is liquid oil in the cylinders, you have a pretty serious problem. But you also wouldn't be able to drive it in that case, at least not without smoking out surrounding traffic. Has it been smoking ? At start up, or all the time ? Also agree if you had a broken spark plug, you should have known it before your mechanic told you. Unless you just want to pull and rebuild an engine, I would look at the head first, new valve stem seals if it smokes on start up. As others said, new spark plug tube seals for oil around the plugs. Common leak points, distributor o-ring, valve cover, oil pump cover, oil pan and upper oil pan "bridge". Everything but the oil pans can be done with the engine in the truck. The oil pans are where I decided it was easier to pull it. Then I found some issues, and went with the full rebuild.

Good luck,

Jason
 
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Across the pond, and upside down
I resemble the $10K solution to a $100 repair. Live othersand learn, the make more mistakes.

Yeah, your not alone here!

That's what's great about mud if you can avoid the MUDOCD virus.

there's almost nothing that hasn't been experienced and solved by someone on mud already. There always others who've made the dance mistakes, and found solutions or wisdom.

There's a huge knowledge base, and loads of people willing to help with info or experience
 

davidp14

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X3 ...what @Comet said...

Business must be slow if a mechanic is wanting to rebuild and engine when he broke your sparkplug and found some oil in the tubes....

Yep he broke it because if he didn't it would have been missing on that cylinder the whole time before he got to it. And if he doesnt owe up to being lazy about getting that plug out, don't ask him for advice on engine rebuilds.


yup. the second I read it I thought B.S!! The Mechanic broke that plug. We all love to blame stuff on "PO's" but not this one, friend. Don't let him touch your cruiser again. Better yet, don't let anyone touch your cruiser again.


In the meantime: replace plugs wires, cap and rotor yourself and see where that gets you before go any further.
 
Joined
Aug 12, 2019
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Washington
Thanks for the replies. Especially for the one that suggested I read the FSM as a solution. Ah, I've missed forums lol.

@Comet - you said: "That cylinder six busted spark plug would be the first suspect" and @davidp14 said they thought the mechanic broke it. I'm thinking only one of those can be true at a time - it was misfiring badly, stuttering on the way to the shop, low power, etc., before they touched the rig. So that would seem to rule out the mechanic touching it, but also - I haven't been near the spark plugs in the last year - so how the F would it have been running smoothly in that condition?

Truck is parked for now. Will take it to my regular mechanic for another look and a second opinion. FWIW, here's the first mechanic's description in case I was misquoting:

"Inspection results: Misfire Cylc 2 detected. All plugs removed and covered with oil. Cylinder pressure test attempted but failed due to broken plus in Cyl 6. Sever valve cover gasket leak. Suspect head gasket leak and/or faulty piston rings."
 

clx16

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@FZJ253 So its not as bad as it originally sounded.

It would have driving very poorly on cylinder 2 misfire. You would have had a code for 6 also if you had a broken plug. I don't think you can drive it with 2 and 6 down at all. Did it ever run well for you after you purchased it?

The leaks are typical for these many years, and really not a bad job to do. Maybe he left out some info but the description doesn't support headgasket failure. and faulty piston rings is not usual so i think you are probably more likely to just be dealing with the gaskets and seals up top and that can be done all at the same time.
 

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