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New Engine with Compression and Oil Issues
Happy New Year everyone,

I've recently reassembled and installed a 1992 1600 8V engine. I had a local machine shop do their thing to the head, block and crank (.02 bore, new valve guides, 3 angle seats, crank just needed to be polished etc). I also replaced the rockers and rocker shafts to go along with the new 272 cam I got from Low Range Offroad.

Using a Top Line Automotive rebuild kit (all gaskets, pistons, rings, bearings etc) I followed the 9 excellent videos covering assembly of a 1300 engine over at on Low Range Offroad's You Tube site, put the engine back together and put it back in my Tracker.

After running the new engine for about 100 miles to let things wear in and rings to seal I ran a cold compression test on the engine and got 150 PSI dry and 175 PSI wet on all cylinders with WOT. I was a little disappointed in those numbers as the 28 year old engine with at least 165K miles on it gave up 165PSI cold but I was more concerned with the amount of oil I was seeing come out of the tail pipe.

After another 100 miles I drained the oil which was super black and down 1.5 quarts. I ran my magnet around in the oil drain pand and other than dust sized metal (which I expect during break-in) I didn't find anything unexpected.

I checked the PCV system and noticed a build-up of white slime on the insides of the tubes between the rocker cover, air intake and PCV. The valve was new and seemed OK but I swapped it with another just to be sure and cleaned the goo'd up tubes but no change in oil consumption.

Worried there might be an issue inside (broken ring, ring gaps lined up or worse) I decided to pull the engine, open it up and check things out.

I found all of the rings were OK and properly installed and staggered. Bores still looked good with no signs of scoring. Bearings looked good everything else (i.e. wrist ping clips, oil pick-up etc) were in place.

I checked the end gap of the two compression rings in all cylinders and got consistent .024 for the top ring and .016 for the second. According to my manual and what I've seen online and factoring in the .20 over pistons I think these numbers should be .009-.014 for both. I contacted tech support over at Top Line and was told they think the ring gaps measurements I'm getting (.016 and .024) sound right.

So I'm stumped. To address the oil consumption I've ordered another set of rings hoping that I'll get different numbers and plan on replacing the valve stem seals just because I have a set and I might as well. The guys at Low Range recommended changing the valve lash to .008 and .010 (cold) which I hope will bring the compression up after I get everything back together.

Other than that I don't know what else to check or do and was hoping to post my saga here for some feedback and any suggestions. What do you think? Do the Top Line ring end gaps sound right to you? What about the compression test results? Should I expect more PSI from a cold engine? Anything jump out at you that I might have missed? Anything info I might have left out that could help you help me?

Thanks in advance for any help
first off is 100miles never is enough to seat in new rings. and that is what leaks above.
150 is on the low side and 175 is good but shows the rings leaking, big time cold. (cylinders not round)
did they bore it with hot block and cyclinder head plate simulator plate on top with full head bolts used and torqued, if not the cylinder will never be round , fully.
pcv white slime mean engine never run to full 180f and not run that way long time. (this dries out all water in the engine, )
if only driving 1 mile to work, there will be slime, and the need for more oil changes.
that ring gap looks wrong, did the guy with those pistons sell you 20over pistons with standard sized rings, if yes, and did you assemble the engine?
if they did maybe the guy there, ground the rings with is MIND thinking its 6liter V8, seen it,
the engine book is clear here, did you read it, in 1st link of first post on this forum (sticky to 96 fsm)
do not run wrong valve lash, there is never a reason to do that, unless using say crap, china, head gaskets, felpro is best. the cheap will shrink and make lash way too tight, avoid $5 head gaskets.
the one gasket not to cheap out on or front/rear crank seals.
the stagger is only for startup after engine runs the rings spin, naturally,
did you see the free 1996 Gm/tracker fsm book it overs ring gap.

i think ring gaps are wrong, or rings wrong size
then think bored as cold naked block, cheap and nasty bore job.
a cold engine, (new from suzuki) the bores go round perfect hot. not by accident but by clear design intent,
the head bolts distort the bore so that the engine must be hot and at full bolt torque, head off . to gain that perfect circle hot. bored hot.
see? there are lots of builders books that cover all this, and are very good.
page 64 , chapter 6a, volume 1, geo tracker FSM real.


0.008 to 0.014" ring gab, 2 times this is dead dead wrong.

bored first, then honed to spec>? hot?
honed with spec cross hatch angles (the ring makers also spec all this out, if USA rings, made, but china, nothing will be found, or is in china languages.
rings are complex topic and many many alloys..... all with different needs,
I would use rings from top makers only.
these rings have tops and bottoms did the builder know that or forget to find out first.

The most common form of alloying cast iron is chromium, molybdenum, vanadium, titanium, nickel, and copper.
read the data sheet on the ring set first.
ever seen this top maker, it as G16 rings . and is not china crap.(means crudely cloned by no name companies, )
the break-in is 5000 to 1000 miles, but again the ring makers(top makers) will tell you all this, worse is chrome rings, avoid them, (racing only)

i answered in chucks, my connection drops, LOL at the drop of hat...

cheers and good luck with those rings.
When I rebuilt my 1.6 8v it ran better after break in but I wasn't really impressed.

I drove it to Tillamook Oregon for a Suzuki meet, did trails all weekend.again more power than the original engine but not what I expected. (I never checked compression after the first week)
Anyways about a month after the rebuild my.boys car quit. So I took his car to fix and he drove my samurai.

Two weeks later he returned the samurai. My wife took it to the store and asked "what did you do to b the zook" I said nothing at all just got but back from b the boy. She replied "whatever he did it's scary fast now, seriously be careful"

Indeed after he returned the samurai the power and torque seemed to have doubled.

What I learned.
My boy had daily driven the 1.6 and gone to his girlfriend every day. This includes several freeway merges a day. Huge was also driving it up some serious hills off road. Lots of high.load sustained RPM driving.

I Myself after a, short break in was not using the 1.6 on road. Being geared ultra low I had.no reason to run high RPM, or put a high load on the newly sealing engine.

It's common for these 1.6 engines to a long time to steal up. We could not find any rings that were not chromoly. The combination of chromoly rings and a hard durable block makes for a long break in..

We actually had a local member here sell his entire samurai because he couldn't get the rings sealed after three ring jobs and another hone. The man he sold it to drove it home via white pass(steep winding 200min drive). By the time he got home the engine was way up in power, compression was good, and ok consumption gone.

Sorry it took a book for me to explain, however the length of time and miles to properly break in a 1.6 can't be underdressed. Some engines can seem to be breaking in forever.

It is however worth the wait. A good running fully sealed fresh 1.6 should impress. I know mine out a smile on my face for days
sure , 500miles at least 3000 is best. on dino oil.
you got a cat there, and if clogged, partially get it fully hot may in many cases dry it out and now flows free.
I had car with 97 kick with cat packed full of carbon and raw engine oil,,,,, (blown engine before , side effect)
i run it fast and long and it even passed the P0420 cat test, not easy to pass that.
chromemolly are racing rings, and may never seat in, keep in mind race cars are torn down every race, or 2.
ever think go get hasting rings. ask them for cast iron, rings. no racing.

read how much trouble Honda new car engines are setup in the factory?
with engine honed last to micro polished cylinders and rings to match, and no breaking needed, (a sale feature not BS)
no shop does this here (be rare)
most buy china parts, and what you get is anyones guess. buy american rings, hastings, or perfect circle or any rings from majors that are fully documented.
Never use high rpm to break in any engine in fact very speeds, like in country road driving and stay off the fast 60mph + turn pike.
if you do it right they can go 300k miles.
my 200k engines had prefect compression and full power, on stock rings;
thanks for the reminder, it does work, rings so seat and if racing rings they may never seat. Chrome is super hard, and the cylinders are not setup for this.

some suzk owers only crawl, and if runs all they be happen;/.
me id never go over 55mph. in gusting wins in any 2000 lbs box kite, not me. ever change lanes, unwilling? (say on bridge)
A quick update........................

I purchased a new set of rings from the same vendor (how's that definition of "insanity" go again?). Fortunately I ended up with a different set of rings than the set that came with the rebuild kit. With this set the top/1st rings in this set had an end gap of .018 (vs .024) and the middle/2nd set were .016 (same) but had a different shape/bevel on the inside, bottom side of the ring. I put the block back together and moved on to the head.

I tore the head down, lapped all of the valves, replaced all of the valve stem seals with a new set of Fel-Pros and put the head back together.

I installed the head on the block and put the engine back into the car. Once I got it fired up again I ran it for about 100 miles using the "moderate revs up and down" (aka hard) method to seat the rings. 100 miles was probably more than I needed but considering there were about 200 miles taken off of the fresh bore by the previous set of rings I decided a little more couldn't hurt.

I rechecked my valve lash (.006 and .007 cold), brought the engine up to operating temperature and did a compression test. All cyclinders were still at at 150PSI.

At this point I'm content with the compression and power I have and have my fingers crossed that both will get better as it continues to break in. I'll post and update if anything changes one way or the other. Most importantly it isn't burning any oil. I'll never know whether it was the rings or the valve stem seals that fixed that issue but at this point I'm very happy with these results, consider the problems solved and have moved on to my next project where I'll be attempting my first ever 5spd gearbox and transfer case teardown/refresh in wife's Tracker. Wish me luck

Thanks for all of the feedback, input and suggestions.

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