82 Camaro w/ bad compression. Need advice!

Hello,
Today's subject is an '82 Camaro with the infamous "Iron Duke" 4 banger and appx 96,000 miles. Car ran great (80 mile round trip each day, no problems)
until it simply quit without warning one fine day on the interstate. A compression test was performed and the engine has virtually *no* compression at all (first cyl 8psi, 2nd thru 4th appx 12 psi, throttle wide open) which ordinarily would lead one to suspect the timing chain except this engine doesn't have a chain, it has gears, and the camshaft and valve gear are still rotating when operating the starter. Can timing gears "skip time" like a timing chain can? Could a blown head gasket or plugged exhaust system be to blame, or perhaps something else? It's not my car, and I've never worked on one of these engines before so any advice would be much appreciated. Also, the manual says the cam has to be removed to change timing gears on this motor....is this true?
Much thanks for any help.
-Mike for e-mail, remove the obvious
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DrivesaRec spilled my beer when they jumped on the table and proclaimed in

If it was a plugged exhaust, you would still have good compression. If it was a blown head gasket, normally, only one or two would be low, and you may have antifreeze in the oil.
I don't remember this engine for some reason, but do you have the ability to check the timing marks on the gears? Someone (forget the manufacturer) made some fiber composite gearing years ago that tended to shred...
My gut instinct is something along the lines of rings? Timing? But I have been wrong a lot recently. <G>
Let us know what you find... NOI
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This engine has metal gears that last a VERY long time before they give up hope. They rarely go bad. However, given the mileage, this is a possibility (you don't state the mileage).
I'd start with all the basics as people have mentioned here.
I think you are thinking of the regular V8's on GM---they use nylon gears. We did a 82 Celebrity (has the iron duke, just going the other way) and I remember doing the gears on that car. Joe--ASE Certified Parts Specialist & 10th Ann.Club Tech Director '80 Carousel Red Turbo T/A, 26k orig. '79 "Y89" 400/4 speed 10th Ann. T/A, 57k orig '84 Olds 88 Royale Bgm 2 dr, 307 "Rocket" (lol), 141k and still going.... '80 T/A project car...
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Bigjfig spilled my beer when they jumped on the table and proclaimed in

Thanks Joe. For some reason, I can not remember anything...
NOI
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SLAP SLAP SLAP...2.5L....sometimes called a Tech4... Used in every damn body GM has made but the Vette and Full Size truck line...
Very popular in S10s......now you get it? :)
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The saga continues...
Finally got a look at this beatie yesterday, didn't have much time but was able to do a first-hand compression test to verify what I was told. Results were:
Cyl 1: 12 psi Cyl 2: 50 psi Cyl 3: 32 psi Cyl 4: 45 psi.
They're all low, but some are much low-er than others. Any ideas/suggestions as to why that might be?
Tried to check the timing also, but at cranking speed there wasn't much to see.
Thanks again for any help....last stupid question from me, I promise....
-Mike
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Cracked head...blown head gasket...WORN RINGS...bent valves...burned valves...valves not seating..spark plugs loose in plug socket... Try this... Take a can of straight 30W oil...or 20-50..or even 80 rear end lube...put about 3 tablespoons in each cylinder, and try it again...do one at a time. See if the numbers dont jump right on up. If they do, then you have located part if not all your problem...take it down, put rings in it, and look hard at your pistons while you have them out and you may find, you have some serious skirt issues too. I swear..this is screaming an overheat and the rings lost temper. of course, it could also be that you DO have a fiber gear, its stripped, and you have all the valves open....how about you take the valve cover off too, since its easy to get off, and spin the mother over and see if your valve train is working... Other issue that comes to mind....soft cam. Cams worn slap ass out....or, you lost oil pressure and your lifters have collapsed completely...its possible...seen stranger.

You wont unless you pull the cover...

And there are no stupid questions if you dont know the answer.

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CBhvac spilled my beer when they jumped on the table and proclaimed in

Ah. thought it sounded familiar. <G>

Nerp, and considering the last few days, I doubt that will ever happen again...
NOI
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I hate to argue this point with you, but I have rebuilt more of those 2.5s than I care to remember, and a couple of them did indeed have fiber gears like my Ford.. and the main reason I remeber this is that I had to buy a damn cam retainer on both of them. We did put metal gears back in them...but they damn sure had fiber from factory... One was in my ex-wifes Fiero....and I remember that blue thing like yesterday, and the other was in a Buick that my grandmother owned since day one, and my brother took out the mains. I pulled it to rebuild it and I went ahead and put gears in it too...

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My sincere thanks for all the responses. The signs seem to point to the timing gears since the compression is uniformly low in all the cylinders, but I'd like to be sure before digging into the front of the motor to get the front cover off. I seem to recall a way to veryify this by removing the spark plugs and valve cover and observing the valves in relation to TDC but can't recall the specifics.
Will definitly try to "persude" the cam gear off without removing the cam, if possible. Hopefully the harmonic balancer is threaded, last time I pulled one of these it wasn't and I had to whack it back on with a mallet.Not fun.
Thanks again!
-Mike
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Actually, if they are fiber, it would not run. Fiber gears will not jump, but they will shread. I would lean much harder towards a burned set of rings. But..thats from my experence with that motor.

Dont even try it. You WILL be at the dealer ordering the cam retainer. That is a given. Pull the cam. The gears have two holes in them for getting at the cam retainer, and it takes little to get it done right. The bottom balancer has the main bolt that hold it on, and three smaller bolts that hold a pully on. It is also pressed on, and kept in place wiht a keeper. The bottom gear will slide off and slide on, also kept in place by the keeper.

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Not to disagree with Joe but the 1980's FWD versions of that motor did have fiber cam gears. I'm not sure of the RWD's though. The fiber gear tended to knock very loadly before failing.
The manual says to pull the camshaft because the cam gear is pressed onto the shaft. There was no real provisions for pulling or reinstalling the gear. At the dealer we made lots of money on these because warranty time paid to pull the engines in the FWD cars.We would remove the gear with some careful use of the air chisel. Some would drill the front of the camshaft to fit an installer. Others would carfully remove the burrs and gently tap the gear back on the cam.The later method would sometimes remove the freeze plug behind the cam.
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you might want to take the opportunity and dump the Iron duke, even if you stay small a 3800 v6 is a much better motor.....especially if you turbo it ala the GN All aboard the Yankee express, next stop October.....
Http://www.yanksource.com
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