: anyone here done the ring cleaning procedure?



mhamilton
12-21-10, 01:00 PM
I'm still debating whether or not I should bother trying the top end cleaning on my engine. I've got an oil change coming up, so it would be a good time to do that, and I could replace the plugs at the same time. But is it worth trying, does it really work? I'm currently tracking my oil use to get an accurate number, but it's about 1 qt/1000 miles. Also still has the cold carbon rap, even after many WOTs and using Shell gas.

I've got a few questions, if anyone has any suggestions that would be a big help:

I'm trying to think of what to use to vacuum the solution out of the cylinders. Maybe a mason jar setup with 2 hoses like a brake bleeder? But can I use a shop vac to supply the suction, or is this solvent too flammable for that?

The TSB says get engine up to temp before starting, but I thought removing spark plugs on aluminum heads was never to be done when hot? Or is it not a big issue on the N*? (I'm remembering the Ford modular engines which would remove the threads with the spark plugs...)

Also, it says make sure no cylinder is at TDC. How is that possible on a V8? The way I'm seeing it, at least one cylinder will be close to TDC or just after TDC. Can only 4 cylinders be done at a time? And what would it matter if the cylinder is at TDC or BDC for cleaning the rings?

Ranger
12-21-10, 03:34 PM
I'm trying to think of what to use to vacuum the solution out of the cylinders. Maybe a mason jar setup with 2 hoses like a brake bleeder? But can I use a shop vac to supply the suction, or is this solvent too flammable for that?
That is the exact home made set up I have and would use.

Not sure why they say no cylinder should be at TDC, but you certainly could do one bank at a time.

mhamilton
12-21-10, 04:00 PM
Thanks Ranger :) I know you also commented on my ring cleaning question in another thread, have you ever done the TEC cleaning yourself?

I've been searching around, apparently the TEC is really popular on the Saturn boards. Of course that's a bit easier on an I4.... but it does sound very simple (more so than the original GM TSB made it sound).

The Saturn TSB states that one should change the oil with Mobile 1 synthetic after the ring cleaning, because of its better detergent qualities. Anyone hear that for the N*? I know my engine at one point was running synth (written on my cam cover), but I know the PO did not use synth, nor have I because of the obscene consumption.

Ranger
12-21-10, 09:30 PM
I've never needed the procedure so I have never done it. Any oil should work just fine.

mhamilton
01-01-11, 01:49 PM
Was going to do the cleaning yesterday, but only had one bottle of UEC... going back to the dealer Monday morning for the 2nd bottle.

If the only result from the cleaning is no more cold carbon knock that will be fine with me. Say I start with #1 near TDC. Putting 3-4 ounces of cleaner in would fill the combustion chamber and clean the piston and head. But I was thinking, the other cylinders would be near BDC, only cleaning the piston. Should I turn the crank 90 degrees, maybe every 30 minutes, so that all the combustion chambers get cleaned? Or is the majority of carbon buildup on the pistons and not the heads?

Ranger
01-01-11, 09:17 PM
I've wondered that myself. I THINK the cleaning procedure is for the rings, not the heads. I would not turn the engine. If you do, you'll likely just force the fluid out the plug holes when the pistons at BDC reach TDC. If you do, crank it with a wrench on the crankshaft dampener, not with the key. Personally, if I where to do it, I think I'd fill each cylinder (that would take care of your concerns, whether it does any good is another story, but I suspect it would) . That would probably take a lot more fluid though.

mhamilton
01-01-11, 09:46 PM
You're right, the goal is to get the carbon and gunk off the oil control rings so they will seal better and improve oil control... but this is just a really powerful solvent that will supposedly be cleaning everything. From what I've been reading, others that have done it report that their pistons end up shining like new (unless the rings are so bad that all the solvent leaks into the oil pan).

Haha, filling them all would do it, but I'm not buying 4.6 liters of this stuff at $15/qt! LOL I'll be putting about 3-4 ounces in each cylinder, per the GM TSB. That does not say to rotate the engine, but it seems like it might work okay. I'd definitely be turning it gently by hand so as to not spray the cleaner out the spark plug holes. My thought was let it sit 30 minutes, turn 90*, 30 more minutes, 90* etc, which should get each cylinder to TDC at the 2 hour mark when it gets removed. But, I may be wrong thinking it will do anything to the chambers. At TDC, the combustion chamber should be filled up if it has 3 or 4 ounces, right?

Ranger
01-01-11, 10:11 PM
At TDC, the combustion chamber should be filled up if it has 3 or 4 ounces, right?
Probably close, but I'm not sure what volume is left at TDC.

The purpose is to free the compression ring. It is near the top of the piston and oil that is consumed cakes up where the ring seats in the land. That locks the ring in place and prevents it from rotating and expanding against the wall. Some oil will seep past the rings in 2 hours I guess and that is why they recommend an oil change, but it would probably create a smoke screen if it where bad enough to leak it all out.

Submariner409
01-01-11, 10:33 PM
Don't quote me - this is a shot from the hip. Northstar combustion chamber volume is around 50-some cc - just under 2 ounces. So, with the piston at TDC, factoring in deck height and piston clearance above the top ring, you MIGHT be able to get 2.2 ounces of fluid in there with the piston at TDC and all valves closed. There's not much to work with and one mistake with a spark plug in a cylinder head will cost you an engine - guaranteed.

ME ??? The ONLY time I would EVER introduce liquid into a cylinder head combustion chamber is with the head on a bench, sealed with a glass plate, and doing volume measurements with a pipette measure. (Matching chamber cc's for the Nth degree of performance.)

mhamilton
01-02-11, 10:47 AM
Hmm.. maybe that's why the TSB says make sure no cylinders are at TDC. That way there's enough room to get the recommended amount of cleaner into each cylinder. That would make sense.


The purpose is to free the compression ring. It is near the top of the piston and oil that is consumed cakes up where the ring seats in the land.

I didn't know how all that solvent would get down to the bottom rings, but I didn't think oil consumption was that dependent on the compression ring. I don't know... honestly I'm not expecting to see any great improvement in my oil usage. If it just cleans the pistons and quiets the cold starts I'll be happy.


There's not much to work with and one mistake with a spark plug in a cylinder head will cost you an engine - guaranteed.

I can understand that, but I have to try something to fix this oil consumption (short of re-ringing the engine). I'll be following the GM specs as far as evacuating the liquid and cranking the engine without the plugs.

mhamilton
01-03-11, 05:42 PM
Well, just got done with the top end cleaning, didn't want to leave this thread hanging.

Got 2 (16 oz) bottles of the Upper Engine and Fuel Injector cleaner from GM, new Delco plugs, a new Delco PCV valve, and everything for an oil change. Had just returned from the dealer to get the solvent, about 25 miles round trip, so the engine was nice and hot.

Old plugs came out nicely, was a bit nervous about removing them hot (heard too many horror stories about the Ford modular engines taking the threads with the plugs). Only a the rear plugs had any oil accumulation in the tubes. Even all the plugs looked reasonably good for 77k miles, gap was just a bit wider than 0.055. Could see lots of carbon on the cylinders through the plug holes.

I put 3.5 ounces into each cylinder, let it sit for 2 hours per the TSB. I was surprised, the solvent looks like carb cleaner in the bottle (same color), but it's actually less viscous, the consistency of small electric motor oil. It doesn't have a strong smell, kind of like ammonia, but also reminds me of carpet cleaner lol.

After that soaked, used Ranger's design for an accumulator to vacuum out the solvent. I got pretty much all of it out with the vac. It had turned black, but I could still see the pistons were still covered in carbon as well. With the 2 injector fuses removed, I cranked the engine with no plugs for 10 seconds, 3 times. Each time in between I used paper towels to clean out what was left in the tubes (not much at all came out). New plugs in, new PCV, cleaned boots and coil cassettes.

An aside to the coil cassettes, on cylinders #2 and #6 both the coil stud and the spring inside the insulator were terribly corroded. That there probably explains the somewhat rough cold starts more than anything else. I cleaned and polished the studs, and removed the springs to clean them.

Buttoned it all back up, started up with one click. LOTS of white smoke. Took it up my road in 1st gear to warm up the oil (felt comfortable with this because I got 90% of the cleaner back out of the cylinders, I don't think any really seeped into the oil pan). Changed the oil and filter, took it out for a drive in 2nd and 3rd gear. Smoke cleared out pretty quickly. Seems to be about the same driveability wise, just as smooth as ever.

The real test will be to see what my oil consumption is. It's currently filled (hot) to the middle of the hashmarks. Also I'll see if it quiets on cold starts. I'm actually not holding my breath. After seeing all the carbon left on the pistons, I'm thinking this is just more of the same old snake oil, although very expensive snake oil with a GM label on it.

Fresh cleaner:
http://img251.imageshack.us/img251/2196/newcleaner.jpg

Used cleaner:
http://img543.imageshack.us/img543/1883/usedcleaner.jpg

New and old plugs:
http://img830.imageshack.us/img830/9515/plugsf.jpg

Ranger
01-03-11, 10:52 PM
The top of the pistons are not really that important. You expect carbon on them and even if you cleaned them, it would be back in short order. Kind of like cleaning out the exhaust system. The part you hope got decarboned and freed up is where the rings seat in the lands so they will free up and rotate. Be sure to give it some good old WOT now. Good luck and keep us posted.

tateos
01-12-11, 08:14 PM
Thanks for the update - sounds like a job well done - let us know if it helps.

When I did my HG project, I did remove all of the deposits on the piston crown and on the valve heads and in the combustion chambers - it was quite a lot, and I think the engine has been more tolerant of low octane fuel since then. My oil consumption has always been around 1,500 miles per quart, and I have had and continue to have some leaks, so I don't think I have a sticking ring problem. I never considered doing a ring cleaning procedure, but with the heads off, maybe it would have been a good idea - imagine how easy it would have been!

Robertsong
01-20-11, 12:46 AM
Re: anyone here done the ring cleaning procedure?
Be sure to give it some good old WOT now
Ranger I have been taking my '94 Concours Deville out about every 2 weeks for a WOT ride. Since this model has no tach, I am wondering, do I continue til the engine cuts out, or sputters at the top speed. I guess I have not actually been WOT. Today I hit 102mph, and she felt like she had more to give. I was running out of road and nerves! In 3rd gear can you or anyone tell me what the top speed would be? And what should I expect from the car/engine once I hit that speed. APpreciate any and all input
Thanks

Submariner409
01-20-11, 09:32 AM
Depending on what speed limiter is set into the ECM, a car with the 4T80E transmission and 3.71 final drive would theoretically reach just over 130 mph in 3rd gear at Northstar redline (~6300 rpm) - then shift to 4 and keep going until power/drag caused mechanical limits.

Someone with a 4.9 engine would have to chime in..............

The speed limiter setting is determined by the original tire speed rating as installed. Look at the sticker on the driver's door and bounce the tire letter designation off this table. When that speed is reached, regardless of engine "power", the fuel supply shuts down and the car will NOT go any faster. Many (most) Devilles are speed limited to 112. DTS (Deville, not the newer wannabe's) is probably 130.

S = 112 mph
T = 118 mph
U = 124 mph
H = 130 mph
V = 149 mph
Z,W,X = 149 mph or greater.

mhamilton
01-20-11, 09:39 AM
do I continue til the engine cuts out, or sputters at the top speed. I guess I have not actually been WOT. Today I hit 102mph, and she felt like she had more to give. I was running out of road and nerves! In 3rd gear can you or anyone tell me what the top speed would be? And what should I expect from the car/engine once I hit that speed. APpreciate any and all input
Thanks

You should put the trans in 2nd gear, that way you won't be up to the 112 mph speed limiter :) and it gives you the gear overrun that is needed to loosen things up on deceleration.

But be careful, these cars will still do 80 mph in 2nd! Put it in 2nd, WOT in 1st & 2nd. Near the 2nd redline (say around 60-70 mph since you don't have a tach), let off the gas and coast down. Don't worry about overtaching the engine by mistake, it will shift to 3rd if it hits the rev limiter.


To update my engine: I haven't gone that many miles, but so far it actually does seem to have improved! I've gone about 350 miles (mostly city driving, which was always worst for oil usage) and I'm still in the hashmarks. So that's good news. I'm not adding anything, so I'll record the mileage when I actually have to add a full quart.

Ranger
01-20-11, 12:19 PM
Speed is not important. RPM is. As mentioned, you can probably get 80 out of it before it shifts to 3rd, so run it up to 70 or so in second and then get your foot out of it and let it back down. It's that simple.

Ludacrisvp
03-06-11, 03:44 AM
Depending on what speed limiter is set into the ECM, a car with the 4T80E transmission and 3.71 final drive would theoretically reach just over 130 mph in 3rd gear at Northstar redline (~6300 rpm) - then shift to 4 and keep going until power/drag caused mechanical limits.

Someone with a 4.9 engine would have to chime in..............

The speed limiter setting is determined by the original tire speed rating as installed. Look at the sticker on the driver's door and bounce the tire letter designation off this table. When that speed is reached, regardless of engine "power", the fuel supply shuts down and the car will NOT go any faster. Many (most) Devilles are speed limited to 112. DTS (Deville, not the newer wannabe's) is probably 130.

S = 112 mph
T = 118 mph
U = 124 mph
H = 130 mph
V = 149 mph
Z,W,X = 149 mph or greater.

The DTS Deville 2000 To 2005 is set at 129mph according to the digital speed readout, the moment I hit 129 it says top speed fuel cutoff on the DIC.


Sent from my unlocked jailbroken iPhone 4 iOS 4.2.1

Pete1996
03-06-11, 10:26 AM
How is the oil consumption going, mhamilton?
Chevron Techron might help the carbon rap if you still have it.

mhamilton
03-06-11, 10:33 AM
Well it does seem to be a bit better, I went 1000 miles before adding a quart. But not really what I would call "good."

I was actually just thinking about trying Techron. Cold start knock is still there, and unfortunately since doing the TEC it seems my cold-start vibration has gotten worse :( I guess it removed more carbon from some pistons than others, now it has a bad vibration for the first 3-5 minutes. Once warm it's smooth.

Submariner409
03-06-11, 10:56 AM
From Post #16: If you do a balls-to-the-wall WOT from a dead stop with the stick in 2 the car will accelerate to redline in 1st, shift to 2nd, continue to redline, and, if you miss the decel point here, it will shift to 3rd. With the stick in 2 you have said "This is my preferred gear" and the transmission will stay there until the PCM and transmission say "Time to shift", up or down, in order to prevent damage. You can place my STS in 1 and accelerate all the way to 143 mph.......been there, done that.

The specific car will only go to that speed at which the speed limiter in the PCM cuts off the fuel supply. If you miss the foot-off-the-pedal at 2 redline, the thing will shift to 3. It won't let you break anything. Just take your foot off the gas pedal and it will downshift automatically to keep everything in safe rpm/power ranges.

For the later STS/Deville DTS (?) owners, look up PAS: Performance Algorithm Shifting.

"Balls to the wall" - That obsolete phrase indicating that the governor on a steam engine was at full speed...............the faster the geared governor rotated, the farther out the balls flew, throttling the steam flow valve. The governor room was not large, hence WOT was ..........

Pete1996
03-07-11, 01:12 PM
How many miles are on this engine? Do you loose any coolant over time? Do you suspect head gaskets at all?

mhamilton
03-07-11, 01:29 PM
How many miles are on this engine? Do you loose any coolant over time? Do you suspect head gaskets at all?

Oh no, there's no cooling system issues on this one.

I got it with 55k miles, now up to 79k. The reason it's so bad with oil is due to the previous owner. My aunt ran it under the worst possible driving conditions. Her driving schedule was: start car, idle until warm in winter, drive less than 1 mile to work on suburban streets, park for 8 hours, drive home. In the years she had it you could probably count on one hand the number of times she had it over 55 mph!

My driving is considerably different, but I think it's too-little too-late for getting all the carbon out without pulling the heads.

Pete1996
03-07-11, 02:45 PM
My parents were similar but they would take it up to 70 but probably never over 3000 RPM
and certainly never WOT.
Our STS has the same problem and head gaskets also.
I'd like to think that there is something that might free up the rings given that once you
take the plugs out you can try various solvents and let it soak. In fact it seems to me that
if you are not in a rush, let it soak, for days if necessary, until it slowly drains down into
the sump - then you know it has come in contact with the rings for sure.

What did the GM stuff smell like? Naptha by any chance? Did you check the MSDS by
any chance?

mhamilton
03-07-11, 06:11 PM
Yeah, I don't know what would really reach the oil control rings. I know what I put in, I got most of it back out of the cylinders. Not really any went down into the oil pan the way the TSB would lead you to think (changing oil immediately, etc). The UEC is actually pretty thick stuff, it's like a light weight motor oil, I suppose so it sticks to the cylinders and doesn't just pool in the bottom. I seem to remember reading that GM changed the ring design, and that the oil consumption is not really an issue on the newer N* engines. I know they definitely changed the piston design, to eliminate that cold knock.

When I was using it I was reminded of the smell of carpet cleaner, it even had a slight ammonia scent. Not strong at all.

The bottle says "contains Glycol ethers and Aryl alcohols." The MSDS# is 1185358, but I can't find the sheets on it.

Pete1996
03-07-11, 07:35 PM
Interesting thanks for the info. Well it seems that oil is getting past the oil control ring so perhaps an additive there, but who knows what might actually work. I would expect that if something might soften the deposits it might take time to finally loosen them up and disolve away - perhaps give it more time.

Ranger
03-07-11, 10:38 PM
My parents were similar but they would take it up to 70 but probably never over 3000 RPM
and certainly never WOT.

Vehicle speed is irrelevant and has nothing to do with it. It all RPM's. Take it out and beat on it. WOT in 2nd gear to 70- -75 MPH and decel down to whatever (lower the better). If anything will free up the rings, that will.

Pete1996
03-08-11, 12:15 AM
I am aware and was just describing how they drove it. I tried WOT over the years that I had it as you described - did nothing for the oil problem and probably contributed to the HG failure.
I have owned several Italian sports cars over the last 35 years so trust me I know about WOT.

mhamilton
03-08-11, 10:34 AM
Same with mine... the reason I did the UEC was because no amount of WOT or 2nd gear runs changed oil consumption or cold start noise. In fact, the only thing WOT did was burn more oil (and gas). And surprisingly, I never saw smoke or carbon out the exhaust at WOT. The UEC and WOT runs afterward did make a bit of an improvement, but still not even at the GM spec 1qt/2k miles.

I think some engines just get too far gone for any external repairs to make a difference. I'm not going to do that at the moment. Maybe in a year or two when I get another car for a DD, then I'll have time to play with this one... stud the block and re-ring it.

Ranger
03-08-11, 12:18 PM
I guess if the rings are really carboned bad, then maybe no amount of WOT will help.

OldFart
01-10-12, 06:08 PM
Same with mine... the reason I did the UEC was because no amount of WOT or 2nd gear runs changed oil consumption or cold start noise. In fact, the only thing WOT did was burn more oil (and gas). And surprisingly, I never saw smoke or carbon out the exhaust at WOT. The UEC and WOT runs afterward did make a bit of an improvement, but still not even at the GM spec 1qt/2k miles.

I think some engines just get too far gone for any external repairs to make a difference. I'm not going to do that at the moment. Maybe in a year or two when I get another car for a DD, then I'll have time to play with this one... stud the block and re-ring it.

Hi mhamilton, just wondering if you are still using a lot of oil since performing the ring cleaning procedure. My 2003 DTS consumes a lot of oil as well and the WOT procedure has done nothing to reduce the consumption. I was considering the ring cleaning procedure until I read this thread, it seems like there was not really an improvement in your oil consumption. Your feedback is appreciated.