Engine failure autopsy - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-16-2019, 11:19 PM Thread Starter
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Engine failure autopsy

Specs : Stroker 2zzge turbo on E85. 465whp. Ni billet oil pump. GPan3. Heavy duty Pauter rods with ARP 2000 bolts. Perfect tune as per data logger. Air and coolant temps good.
Engine went pop on the track and bled out.
Rod broke and bust out of block. Rod bolts broken. Rod cap overheated and melted backwards . Crank journal cooked and gouged. Bearing shredded. Piston wacked cylinder head and two valves distorted. 4th cylinder only damaged others are pristine . Oil pump intact.
See pics
Opinions ?
Can oil starvation damage just one cylinder ?
Does high G cause just one cylinder / rod bearing to "starve" ?

Bolts backed off ?
? The engine builder suggests oil starvation
Tight bearing ? But this would have been determined at time of build right ?
I thought too much torque but other bearings are perfect.

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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-16-2019, 11:43 PM
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Hopefully some smart people will provide some insight. Thanks for posting. Maybe I'll learn something.

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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-17-2019, 04:53 AM
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Just a few questions:
  • How fresh was your oil?
  • Oil Weight? Temps?
  • How many miles on the engine? (track duty only?)

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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-17-2019, 05:20 AM
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Are you logging oil pressure? When I had these failures both times it was because I went below half full on oil and it starved in T 16-18 @ COTA. Failure was then about 20 seconds later on the front straight.

2007 Exige S with almost every track mod...
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-17-2019, 07:08 AM Thread Starter
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Dyno tuned . Track duty only. 20 minute sessions times about 12. Air temps about 30 - 35 C. Max IAT 40 C. Of course the oil pressure gauge was gimped ( that would make this too easy an exam ). Did check oil prior to the run and seemed good.
Oil changes always clean synthetic 5W40 Liquimoly or Rotella diesel.
One thing to add ... There was fair amount of oil that seemed to be entering the catch can and intake. Not sure if it was faulty PCV...will check shortly. New Garrett turbo .

Can a drop in oil pressure destroy a single cylinder? Other cylinders are perfect.


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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-17-2019, 08:19 AM
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Yep had it happen twice. If you were leaking into the catch can in the session you were running low by the end of session probably. Exactly what happenned to me. One time it destroyed everything and the other time it just spun a rod.
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-17-2019, 09:06 AM Thread Starter
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Thank u sir. We all learn from experience and I wish I had learnt it from from someone else's experience
Knowledge is power.
With great power comes great responsibility. Had to throw that one in too.
Bottomline you gotta pay to play at this level.
I am assuming dry sump would increase my chances of this not recurring.
Who has a decent dry sump system?

What I've learnt so far ...
3 options
1. Leave your car stock
2. Leave your stock internals car at max boost 10-12 psi. About max 320hp ( seemed to survive) .. probably safest at 275hp
3. Any higher do everything conceivable including dry sump coz your an addict and you'll want more . Might save you money and time in the long run to just mortgage your house once and build your motor to the max.

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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-17-2019, 09:09 AM
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An easy fix would be to tap a new hole in the top middle of your valve cover and vent there. That will reduce by 90% the loss of oil out the head and as long as my oil was full and I wasn't losing it out the head there were never any oiling problems per data.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-17-2019, 09:45 AM Thread Starter
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So simply to drilling an an opening, eg 1cm . No valve , no vent filter.
So that would alleviate the pressure in the head and I guess above the pistons? Maybe that would balance extreme pressures above and below the piston , decrease oil foaming in the block? Man, it sucks to know a little about a lot, ... Gonna have to go back to school.
Thank you for your advice !

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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-17-2019, 10:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ReDRuM View Post
So simply to drilling an an opening, eg 1cm . No valve , no vent filter.
So that would alleviate the pressure in the head and I guess above the pistons? Maybe that would balance extreme pressures above and below the piston , decrease oil foaming in the block? Man, it sucks to know a little about a lot, ... Gonna have to go back to school.
Thank you for your advice !

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You drill it in the vent passageway, mine was drilled at the X and I closed off the two ports circled, you then vent this to your catch can assembly, but ideally you get much much less oil out of it as there shouldnt be oil sloshing against it in right hand turns.
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-17-2019, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by kfennell View Post
An easy fix would be to tap a new hole in the top middle of your valve cover and vent there. That will reduce by 90% the loss of oil out the head and as long as my oil was full and I wasn't losing it out the head there were never any oiling problems per data.
Is there a reason you wouldn't just drain the catch can back to the oil pan or similar? You're method results in less plumbing but just wondering.
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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-17-2019, 10:25 AM
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Is there a reason you wouldn't just drain the catch can back to the oil pan or similar? You're method results in less plumbing but just wondering.
Yeah you could do that, I think you would end up with some fuel in your oil though, it always seemed that what I collected "seemed" thinner then oil.
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-17-2019, 11:54 AM
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Sorry for your failure mode man... I am of the mind ( at this point in time) to adhere to option #2.

The expenses associated with more power than that comes with changing more or less "everything"

I am not adverse to doing so someday as a jolly, but the money I have saved not doing a "BIG BEAUTIFUL BUILD" today has allowed me a whole new car to play with... I would love that extra power, no doubt, but I don't track or race or do any other time trial type activities.

No doubt it will be all the more stout when your done man. Peacb
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-17-2019, 12:14 PM
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Same here. It's not the prettiest oil coming out of the catch can for some reason.
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-17-2019, 01:42 PM
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Hadn't considered the gas mixing with the oil in the catch can, makes sense though. My catch cans do not seem to collect a lot of oil but when they do I'll make sure not to recirculate that oil.
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post #16 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-17-2019, 02:28 PM
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I find my oil is diluted with gas to 3-4% in 200 track miles (per Blackstone analysis). This is thinning the oil fast. I change every two days.

I have a BOE catch can (open-loop) on the bigger vent pipe, and a small Aluminum Moroso catch can on the smaller vent pipe that is routed to the low-vacuum (air cleaner side of the throttle butterfly). This is a switch to the opposite side of the butterfly for the smaller vent versus OEM.

My logic is that the low vacuum will help keep the crank case pressure low at WOT. The OEM configuration, when off-throttle, sucks air from the air-cleaner/low-vacuum side, through the valve cover, and out to the high-vacuum side into the intake. This is the source of most of the rebreathed oil in my experience.

I get little oil in the BOE open-loop can and a small amount of condensed gas (20ml per track/race day) (I fill the can with SS cleaner pads). I get more condensed gas (40-50ml per track/race day) in the Moroso closed-loop can.

The car has stock SC w/ 3" pulley, 550cc injectors, ITG intake and BOE TQ300 tune. I recently switched to a Laminova oil cooler (and don't yet have new Blackstone data on dilution).

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post #17 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-17-2019, 05:07 PM Thread Starter
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So that's not an uncommon thing then, excess oil though the PCV. I'm assuming this is blow-by made worse by boost and rpm+

My engine bay progressively got coated by oil. I wasn't sure where it was coming from. At one point, the turbo to intercooler pipe popped off and I ran the car overspooling the turbo for about 20 minutes. Then I spotted the issue , clamped the pipe down again. The oil mess got worse. I called it quits. We put the car on the dyno and oil misted and squirted out of the blow-off valve ( BOV ). When on the track this would just spread everywhere. We assumed the turbo seals had gone. Replaced the turbo ( upgrade of course ), cleaned out all the pipes and intercooler , ran it on the dyno - "problem solved". Also then added the catch can. Back on the track.. the problem recurred. Oil in the catch can. Thought maybe the catch can was causing a restriction. Then the motor went pop.
So... the intercooler slowly fills with oil then the BOV makes the mess.

Venting the top of the valve cover, and plugging the side ports gives the top of the head more oil "capacity" , and then when off boost /cruising , hopefully, there's time for that oil to gravity feed back to the sump ( there are channels for this right ? ).

... ?
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post #18 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-18-2019, 06:40 AM
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I get a lot of oil in the catch can on right hand sweepers. The valve cover vent is on the left side... makes sense. If I race a mostly counter clockwise course, there is very little oil lost. This is the case with both the 33psi I used to run and now the 25psi in current config.

FWIW, I have chosen not to delete the vent pipe on the back of the valve cover that goes to the block. I figured, hey, Toyota put that thing there for a reason and it's not hurting anything.
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post #19 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-18-2019, 07:18 AM
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I have also stubbornly retained the Vent Pipe No.1 .

2007 Exige S
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post #20 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-18-2019, 07:19 AM
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Originally Posted by glagola1 View Post
FWIW, I have chosen not to delete the vent pipe on the back of the valve cover that goes to the block. I figured, hey, Toyota put that thing there for a reason and it's not hurting anything.
That thing started leaking on me near the block connection. It was a pain to remove but I plugged that instead of trying to keep it from leaking again.
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