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Engine work on my L-9000

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  • Engine work on my L-9000

    My 88 L-9000 tri-axle dump has been humming along for a few years now. (Cummins 350 big cam) I decided to take a couple weeks off about a month ago and do 2 things to it, replace the bed floor, and "run the overhead", that is, pull the rocker covers and jakes and adjust the valves and injectors. It has less than 100,000 miles on an in-frame overhaul, and I replaced the injection pump less than 50,000 miles ago, but still had a little too much smoke, both black and blue. I don't mind the black too much, it wasn't too bad anyway, but I hated the blue smoke, it really makes a vehicle look bad. It didn't smoke all the time, just some on the cold start, and then pretty much for a little while after a short idle period. Shortly after I bought the truck almost 20 years ago, I had a mechanic run the overhead for me, and that cleared up most of a smoking issue it had then. That was a different engine than what it has now.

    It all went well, the intake and exhaust valves weren't too far off, and this time, I did the injectors 0 lash, plus one quarter turn. Unlike last time, when I just put them at zero. No more smoke!! Either black or blue, Not sure why those adjustments affect that, but I'll take it!

    Back to work for 4 days, seemed to have slightly less power, but was running good. Then last Thursday, going down an interstate hill with the jake on, BANG, clatter clatter, puff of smoke. Headed for the emergency lane, still running, but a dead miss. Oil pressure and temp were normal. Left it idle and opened the hood, nothing obvious to see. I immediately thought maybe a broken valve spring or rocker, but I had to get out of there, a busy interstate, cars whizzing by a few feet away. An exit only a few hundred feet ahead, and I knew there was a big parking lot just at the end of that ramp. Gently limped it up there (about 18 tons of dirt on) called the dispatcher, called my friend Don, we quickly agreed to just call the hook, can't take a chance on something loose in there tearing up the whole engine. About a 12 mile trip home, I asked the wrecker guy as he was hooking up "we don't have to take out the driveshaft, do we?" He said "uh, yes. I've seen these transmissions blow after only 6 miles, there's an oil pump on the input shaft. Unless you want to hold that clutch pedal down all the way the whole time. It's tough, but I've done it." I just moaned and groaned about what a job it is taking that drive shaft out, and he said "oh I'll do it". But "you don't come cheap" I told him, "I'll just hold the clutch down, I'll take rests and change legs at traffic lights." So that's what I did, it worked well. Put it in high gear so everything in the trans turns, then no chance of a lube problem. Never thought of that before, though it's probably not considered very safe to ride in a vehicle hanging on a wrecker, especially when it grosses about 68,000 pounds. That tandem KW wrecker knew it had a load! An 88 model, same year as mine.

    But now it's home, pulled the covers, can't see anything wrong, pulled the jakes, still can't see anything. Idling, all the movement seemed normal. Shot the exhaust manifold with a temp gun to try to find a cold cylinder, but the temps were even throughout. Went to bed Friday evening not knowing what was wrong, not fun. Don was calling around trying to find out what needed to be done for a compression test, but wasn't having much luck. Next day, started checking the valve clearances, wondering what I could have done wrong. Paying special attention to the exhaust valves, because the jake was on when it popped. Got to the last one, the exhaust valve on #6, and it was tight, was supposed to be .023. I was by myself, (Saturday morning) but Don told me on the phone to start pulling the rocker boxes, and start with the rear one, since that's where the tight valve was. (this is a 3 head engine) Got the rear one off, pulled out that exhaust push rod, and gave it a look. Wait, is it bent? YES! I was never so happy to find something bent in my life! It wasn't obvious without a close look, but it was there, and I knew I was in the right place! Hopefully just a screwed up head, get a replacement, and back on the road in a few days. Not so lucky though, as soon as I moved the head off I saw the cooked piston, and a scored up liner. Laid the head over and see that it has one valve seat missing. So it dropped a valve seat, mystery solved. Glad I didn't try to drive it home, probably would have locked it up.

    It's all apart now, waiting on parts from Michigan. (piston, liner, push rod, rebuilt head, 2 new injectors)

    23 Alt / Rick, are you here? I have a couple of questions! 1) I got the rear head off without removing the intake, am I gonna be able to get the new one on without removing it? And 2) Does zero lash plus 1/4 turn sound right to you on the injector adjustments?

    Marc

    88 L-9000 tri-axle dump
    71 F-250 4x2
    88 F-150 4X2

  • #2
    20190406_115053.jpg Lower right valve
    Marc

    88 L-9000 tri-axle dump
    71 F-250 4x2
    88 F-150 4X2

    Comment


    • #3
      20190408_095752.jpg
      Marc

      88 L-9000 tri-axle dump
      71 F-250 4x2
      88 F-150 4X2

      Comment


      • #4
        If you get by just building one hole you got lucky! That could have been nasty. Did you find the remains of the valve seat? Iíd be checking the exhaust side, wouldnít want it to get to the turbo.....
        ----1999 F150 XLT Lariat Super Cab 4X4 5.4----
        -----1947 Lincoln Zephyr Coupe 5.0-----
        -----2005 Expedition Eddie Bauer 5.4----
        " Sometimes you fix the car, sometimes the car fixes you" Steve L.

        "Do not let anyone tell you it cannot be done. No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of America". President Donald J. Trump

        Comment


        • #5
          No I didn't, I suspect it mostly melted and/or is embedded in the piston. The clattering stopped after only a few seconds, I don't think the seat lasted long at all. There is some metal pieces in the pan, not sure if that's it or how it got there. We'll look things over carefully during assembly. Piston 5 is a little bruised up too, we'll be replacing it as well. I remember 4 years ago when we put these (rebuilt) heads on, and one of them, this one, really looked questionable to Don. He said back then that if we weren't pressed for time,, he'd send that one back, it was just old and beat-up looking. Well, this is how long it lasted. a little less than 100,000 miles. New stuff, and one rebuilt head, is coming from a different place this time, on the way now from Michigan, should be here tomorrow or Thursday. I hope it looks good, because I'm pressed for time this time as well. I need to get back to work! I've been using these couple of days, today and tomorrow, to clean up and repaint the tailgate. This place wants the old head for a core, Don told him it's a POS, and he asked "is it broke in half?" Don told him it wasn't, and he said he'd take it! I'm glad to get the core price for it.

          I was thinking today, it must have looked strange to the car guys here, reading how I took off a head without taking off the intake! I might be calling it by the wrong name, but it does the job of an intake to me. It's on the side of the motor as you know, a quick look at one of these engines would make it clear how it was possible for me to do that. I'll get some more pics in the coming days.
          Marc

          88 L-9000 tri-axle dump
          71 F-250 4x2
          88 F-150 4X2

          Comment


          • #6
            How did you make out?
            '70 Mach 1 - '72 Sprint - '94 F-150 XL -'97 E-150 - '18 Edge SEL AWD

            My Mach's restoration progress
            My Sprint's restoration progress
            ĒMercy for the guilty is cruelty to the innocent.Ē ~ Adam Smith

            Comment


            • #7
              Yes, I guess I am overdue for an update, it's just that I'm kinda caught between joy and terror right now!

              It's all back together, we decided to go ahead and replace all the rod and main bearings while we had the pan off, the old ones all looked questionable. I've been running for 2 weeks now, but it doesn't run as well as it did before. Can't figure out just what the problem is, must be either an injector issue, (either adjustment or just one or two bad ones), or an intake air leak. It's not bad enough to tear back into and just take guesses, but if I knew for sure what it was I'd do what's necessary. Sometimes when peaking hills, or just running along level, it runs rough. Power seems to be down just a little, but not too much. Still no smoke, and perfectly normal temp and oil pressure, and never tries to quit at idle. I've been slowly sliding backwards financially since the first of the year, and I have little choice but to just run it and see what happens. Putting in fuel treatments and keeping filters changed is all I know to do. Lot of valve train rattle when it's running rough though, can't be good for it.

              This is the third engine I've had in this truck. The second one was several years older than the truck, and didn't last me long. It's been a long time, (04) but as I remember that one was running similar to the way this one is now, only difference was it was smoking pretty good. I took it to a shop (long out of business by now) and asked him to completely overhaul it. He called me back in a few days and told me it had a spun cam bearing, and that pretty much totals the motor. He's the one who found and installed the motor I currently have. Since then, my friend Don and I have gone through this one twice now, and I was told it was gone through about 50,000 miles before I got it. The trouble is, I don't think the cam, or cam bearings have ever been touched. If this one gets a serious cam problem like that, the truck is pretty well done - these old "big cam" engines are really getting to be antiques. Couldn't hope to find a good used one, and to get a reman short block or something similar isn't something I want to do, since I'm 64 now and could never get my money back out of it. Not sure how much longer I'm going to go, I'm starting to really turn the corner on aches and pains and tiredness. Can't just turn my back on this truck and get a job driving for someone else, this truck is largely responsible for the expenses I have, and it's the only thing that will get me out of them. Don and I are watching around, if I could find another truck that's somewhat newer, that needs some work, for a really good deal , I could go for it and just work on it evenings and weekends so that if my current motor pops, I will instantly have a backup plan. Financing a good one, with the idea of selling it in a couple of years at retirement, isn't really an option. If there's one vehicle that banks don't want to finance, it's an (older) one of these dump trucks, since they get such rough treatment on their jobs.

              Back to the engine job we did though, we did manage to get the head back on without pulling the intake. Had to fight with the gaskets a little, but we got it! Tailgate looks a lot better now, more pics in a few minutes.

              Marc

              88 L-9000 tri-axle dump
              71 F-250 4x2
              88 F-150 4X2

              Comment


              • #8
                Ready for the head! This is the only engine re-assembly pic I took. 20190413_154718.jpg
                Marc

                88 L-9000 tri-axle dump
                71 F-250 4x2
                88 F-150 4X2

                Comment


                • #9
                  20190331_194833.jpg These pictures were taken before these engine problems, it's another (more pleasant) story. Shows my new bed floor, those are rough sawn oak 2x8's. One carriage bolt in each end, and they're black because I just mopped used motor oil all over them. It soaks in, no big environmental issues. And over time, they get slick as glass, they actually are better in many ways than metal, for the variety of stuff I haul. Only downside is they wear out in 1 to 3 years, depending on usage. Only a few hundred bucks and a day or two to get it done. This is the second wood floor I've put in it. The old boards were still in good shape up front, but towards the rear they were only about a half inch thick, and were coming apart. I always push them up tight against each other with a porta power when bolting them in. 20190318_171239.jpg
                  Marc

                  88 L-9000 tri-axle dump
                  71 F-250 4x2
                  88 F-150 4X2

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    20190417_200602.jpg Tailgate looks better now! One thing nice about having my own truck is that I don't have to answer to anybody when deciding what goofy thing I want its signs to say!
                    Marc

                    88 L-9000 tri-axle dump
                    71 F-250 4x2
                    88 F-150 4X2

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      20190417_200145.jpg New tires on front, so I decided to get some paint on these rims. Bed floors, painting tailgates / rims, I sooo much better like doing this kind of work than engine work!
                      Marc

                      88 L-9000 tri-axle dump
                      71 F-250 4x2
                      88 F-150 4X2

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        My hatís off to you guys that run trucks. You certainly do work your butts off.

                        Looks great! Especially that tailgate, and that floor.
                        '70 Mach 1 - '72 Sprint - '94 F-150 XL -'97 E-150 - '18 Edge SEL AWD

                        My Mach's restoration progress
                        My Sprint's restoration progress
                        ĒMercy for the guilty is cruelty to the innocent.Ē ~ Adam Smith

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Looks good Marc! Maybe the old girl will last a while for you now. I know how you feel on getting another one, I have less than a year to pay on mine, and in two years I'll be 62 and want to retire and work part time. I want another one, but I don't want to get bogged down with 3 more years of payments, if I do that, I won't be able to retire until I'm 63 or 64. I'm tired of working so hard!
                          ----1999 F150 XLT Lariat Super Cab 4X4 5.4----
                          -----1947 Lincoln Zephyr Coupe 5.0-----
                          -----2005 Expedition Eddie Bauer 5.4----
                          " Sometimes you fix the car, sometimes the car fixes you" Steve L.

                          "Do not let anyone tell you it cannot be done. No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of America". President Donald J. Trump

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Thanks Steve! After writing the above, I guess it wouldn't hurt to elaborate a little on this one sentence that I wrote;

                            ...if I could find another truck that's somewhat newer, that needs some work, for a really good deal,
                            I could go for it and just work on it evenings and weekends so that if my current motor pops, I will instantly have a backup plan.


                            The question would probably be, why not just wait and see if mine lays down completely, before going out and buying another one? The reason is, these trucks aren't near as plentiful as used cars or pickups. Chances are the first day I started searching the net to find one, there wouldn't be anything close to my needs for a "fixer upper" price for a 100 mile radius. It does take time, and would probably involve a few hundred mile trip, and it would be hard to get it done quickly enough if my current truck suddenly quit. But I'm not too inclined to do it right now, I'd have to borrow the money, and hope I could sell it in a few years without taking too much of a loss. Don is waiting to hear back from someone in Williamstown, (about 30 miles south) who might have something close to what I'd want. If we hear back, I'll probably go look, but doubt if I'll make any moves. Maybe I'm too picky, some would probably say i worry too much. Had a good day in my truck today.

                            Bobby, whenever I start feeling old, I'm always reminded of something I saw about 10 years ago. I went to the office of a 15 unit (or so) dump truck company, knowing they dispatched an owner / operator or two, wondering if they'd be receptive to using me as well. About 40 miles north of me, in Ohio. I'll use a ficticous name "Jim Smith Trucking". Not knowing what I'd find, I went into the office. A secretary's desk, but no one in there. The first thing I see is a sign on the wall - "Attention Drivers - when parking your truck in the evening, make sure to turn your radio down. If Jim gets in your truck to move it and the radio blares, he'll turn it down with a hammer."

                            Then the door to the adjoining shop opens, and an ancient old man, covered with oil and grease, walks in. "Can I help you?" Yes, are you Jim Smith? "I am". Didn't seem like the friendliest guy in the world, but I made some easy going little comment about his experience. "I'm 83 years old. Any ideas on how to get a broken piece of axle out of an Eaton rear?" Well no, I said, then stated my business, he said things were far to slow at that time to take on anybody else. So just a few more pleasant parting words and I left. I still see his trucks out, don't know if he's still alive or not. Mostly Internationals, a few Freightliners, a couple Sterlings, but no Macks haha.

                            It all worked out for me, the dispatcher I ended up getting with is the best around. And the owner of it is about 10 years younger than me.

                            My point is, as long as I'm able, I want to stay at least somewhat busy - I kind of envy that guy. I just want to cut back some on the stress in the next couple of years. I don't want near the stress he had at 83 though!
                            Marc

                            88 L-9000 tri-axle dump
                            71 F-250 4x2
                            88 F-150 4X2

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I can attest to what youíre saying Marc. My last two trucks I was out of work over 6 weeks between breaking down and getting rolling again,, Iíll tell ya, if it hadnít been for a friend and some family, I donít know what we would have done. Both times, I had spent the little reserve I had built up on repairs, and had very little to fall back on. This one hasnít been much better, I was lied to about it before I got it, it wasnít in the shape it was claimed to be in, but when youíre hungry, you do what you have to do. Several freak breakdowns put me in the hole over $8000 with my company, hopefully that will be paid off this month. Itís been tough, I was basically paying two truck payments, one on the truck, one on the shop bill.

                              There are lots of used trucks out there, but finding one to meet your specs is the hard part. Iíve been looking around to get a feel of the market, what I want I canít afford, and most of what I can afford I donít like or want. Weíre limited to a 10 year age limit, so that rules out a lot of good older trucks. Also makes me have to spend more. I canít imagine trying to find a decent older dump, most of them are worn slap out when they get parked. Might be better off finding a heavy duty road tractor and putting your bed and hydraulics on it. Think low boy pullers. Or you could buy a newer wreck, and get the engine swapped into yours. A buddy of mine did that about 10 years ago, he went from a manual 3406 Cat to a computer 3406E, but he bought a new engine and all the stuff to put it in. His truck is a 85 model 359 Pete that he bought new and has totally rebuilt it two or three times!
                              ----1999 F150 XLT Lariat Super Cab 4X4 5.4----
                              -----1947 Lincoln Zephyr Coupe 5.0-----
                              -----2005 Expedition Eddie Bauer 5.4----
                              " Sometimes you fix the car, sometimes the car fixes you" Steve L.

                              "Do not let anyone tell you it cannot be done. No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of America". President Donald J. Trump

                              Comment

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