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Old 07-01-2018, 06:51 PM
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Default My ERA 428FE started to knock tonight

Think my original 6k mile 1995 428FE spun a bearing tonight. Was on RT15 buzzing along at 3200 RPMs and I got a sudden hesitation and then the knock started. I was able to drive it 5 miles home by feathering the gas and minimizing the knock sound. Car still ran well and did not die at any stoplights. Oil pressure was still there and oil level is still good. Water temp was normal. Got it home and could not see anything abnormal, which tells me itís internal to the motor I think. Where in CT can I have the car taken to that if needed could repair/rebuild the motor? Does ERA do repairs? Maybe Iím overreacting, perhaps itís something simple.
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Old 07-01-2018, 06:53 PM
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Don't start it and get it to a shop ASAP. Chances are you have a damaged piston.
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Old 07-02-2018, 03:49 AM
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I have heard real good things about Daryl Fitzgerald of Fitzgerald Automotive in Beacon Falls CT. I spoke with him and will be taking my race engine there in the fall after the race season for a freshening. Seems real knowledgeable and reasonable.
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Old 07-02-2018, 04:06 AM
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Quality Auto Service (performance division) Keith McDermott 845-323-2353, hands down one of the best mechanics around--best part is that he is honest.
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Old 07-02-2018, 04:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by egreaves20 View Post
Where in CT can I have the car taken to that if needed could repair/rebuild the motor? Does ERA do repairs? Maybe Iím overreacting, perhaps itís something simple.
Are you anywhere close to Danbury? If so, take it to Joe at Danbury Competition Engines. There's always the chance that he may have actually built the engine, as he has built many FE engines for ERA over the last few decades.
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Old 07-02-2018, 06:29 AM
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Yes, that’s where the motor was sourced and built back in 1995. I have all the original paperwork, showing a $6500 build price back then. Can they do everything or do they want just the motor?
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Old 07-02-2018, 08:20 AM
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Yes, thatís where the motor was sourced and built back in 1995. I have all the original paperwork, showing a $6500 build price back then. Can they do everything or do they want just the motor?
I would not immediately assume the motor needs to be pulled. In fact, it might not be as serious as you would first think. I know that Joe is fond of using original Ford rocker assemblies for "mild" FE builds. It might just ease your mind a bit if you removed the spark plugs, removed the valve covers, and then turned the engine over by hand, via the crank bolt, with a ratchet wrench and pipe/jack handle. Watch the valve train assembly and look for broken/bent components, like springs, bent rods, broken rockers, etc. If you drove it home "clanging," then turning it over a few times with a wrench is not going to hurt it any more. Then, once you've done that, you can decide on the next step. Remember that FEs, especially with the original Ford rocker assembly, can sometimes bend a push rod, or break a rocker, when they're just sitting alone in the garage.... and it's not a terribly big deal when they do. Mostly, it's just a nuisance fix.
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Old 07-02-2018, 03:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by egreaves20 View Post
Yes, thatís where the motor was sourced and built back in 1995. I have all the original paperwork, showing a $6500 build price back then. Can they do everything or do they want just the motor?
Joe will want just the motor, but Patrick's suggestion makes sense. You can also give Joe a call and ask him what information he needs to diagnose it. He's not real talkative, but knows FEs and is honest.
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Old 07-02-2018, 04:36 PM
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Joe will want just the motor, but Patrick's suggestion makes sense. You can also give Joe a call and ask him what information he needs to diagnose it. He's not real talkative, but knows FEs and is honest.
I went to him for my build and he does very nice, meticulous work. Frankly, I would be astounded if you managed to spin a bearing, be it main or rod, with just 6000 miles on the engine and no incident of losing your oil, etc.

I went back and read your original post where you said "I was able to drive it 5 miles home by feathering the gas and minimizing the knock sound. Car still ran well and did not die at any stoplights." If you couldn't feel any problem, but could only hear a really scary sound, then there are other parts that are more likely than a spun bearing -- sometimes even the fuel pump can make a "knocking" sound, and that's not a bad problem. A youtube posting of the sound could help -- if you really did spin a bearing, then the damage is already done. But I hate to say "go ahead and fire her up and post a video."
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Old 07-02-2018, 05:15 PM
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I spoke with Joe as well as the guys from Cobra Automotive. Both think itís likely a top end issue, perhaps a push rod. I fired it up again and about every 2-3 seconds it makes a pretty loud clank noise, seems like near the manifold. Iím hoping a push rod slipped off the rocker arm, or a rocker arm broke. Cobra Automotive are picking up the car in 2 weeks to bring to their shop and have a look. I rechecked the oil and itís nice and clean and no leaks anywhere. Hope itís a top end issue, if so, wonder if a roller setup would be nice while there?

Sounded like this, first 5 seconds of this video:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=kOLZ9io8cYc
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Old 07-02-2018, 05:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by egreaves20 View Post
Hope itís a top end issue, if so, wonder if a roller setup would be nice while there?
Absolutely, Joe put in Ersons for me, as we both felt that they were more reliable for a higher revving SFT mill, but those are no longer available. Harland Sharp, T&D, you have choices. If it's a broken rocker, stand, bent rod, etc. I would upgrade -- no engine pulling necessary.
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Old 07-02-2018, 05:45 PM
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Thanks, I, feeling better already. I’m tempted to fire up the motor and get a video of the noise to share. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll do that.
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Old 07-02-2018, 05:48 PM
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Thanks, I, feeling better already. Iím tempted to fire up the motor and get a video of the noise to share. Perhaps tomorrow Iíll do that.
I bet if you just take the valve covers off and look real hard you'll see the problem.
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Old 07-02-2018, 06:50 PM
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I might try that tomorrow. I took off all the valve cover nuts and the cover didn’t want to come off. Has a nice thick black gasket. Is it normal to have to pry off the valve cover? If so, what’s best way? I’m very mechanically inclined, just never worked on a 428.
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Old 07-02-2018, 06:57 PM
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I might try that tomorrow. I took off all the valve cover nuts and the cover didnít want to come off. Has a nice thick black gasket. Is it normal to have to pry off the valve cover? If so, whatís best way? Iím very mechanically inclined, just never worked on a 428.
Wiggle it, and rap it with a rubber mallet. They usually come right off (for those of us with solid lifters). If wiggling and rapping doesn't get you anywhere then investigate whether a previous owner may have "weatherstripped" the gasket down on both sides to eliminate oil leaks.
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Old 07-03-2018, 08:52 AM
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Here's some good info on FE rocker arm assemblies: https://www.diyford.com/ford-fe-engi...ltimate-guide/ It's mostly just a rip from Barry R.'s book, which anyone with an FE really should shell out the money for. If it does turn out that you bent a push rod while just "buzzing along at 3200 RPMs" and you do indeed have the original Ford factory rocker system in there (maybe even the factory non-adjustable rocker system, which is really hard to adjust) then I would have Joe put in a nice set of aftermarket rollers for you. Remember, half the solution is just picking the right system, the second half is making sure your other components (springs, rods, etc.) are good, and the third half is getting the geometry right. Joe will do a nice job on it, but he does like the original rocker systems, for some reason.
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Old 07-03-2018, 06:49 PM
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Factory FE rocker shafts are known for breaking at the outboard ends as the end rocker arms are unsupported. You may want to check to see if the rocker shafts are cracked, bent or broken at the end rockers.

Ted

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Old 07-03-2018, 09:16 PM
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A few weeks ago while cruising in town I had a exhaust rocker stud break # 1 cyl. Maybe 2000 RPM at most.
Scared the doo doo out of me. Sounded and felt like the motor blew up.
Flat bed it home, pulled rocker covers, breathed a sigh of relief, slept very well that night.
1/2 hour job and back on the road the next day.
Follow previous advice and pull rocker covers. Could save you a lot of money and time.
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Old 07-16-2018, 05:43 PM
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egreaves20 -- so, what's the verdict?
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Old 07-17-2018, 11:16 PM
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I also like to know...
Hope it was something minor.
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