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Power loss on hill. Blowing oil out

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  • Power loss on hill. Blowing oil out

    My car is a 1990 Festiva automatic. I’ve had the car about a year. Poor girl has near 318K on the clock so I know she’s tired and that may be the answer to everything. But I’m at a loss as to what’s going on. The car has next to zero power going up a hill. It wasn’t always like this. When I first got the car it would do ok up a hill. As well as you’d expect a 318K 1.3 to do. More recently it struggles so bad. I haven’t put many miles on it because I had a brake issue that I didn’t have time to fix for most of last year. So anyway yesterday I’m driving up a hill. She’s struggling and then smoke comes out the exhaust. I go just a little further to a safe place to pull over. Once I got close to a stop the car dies. I pop the hood and there’s oil all over the driver side of the engine and everything else on that side. Car was running fairly hot at this point when I pulled over. Didn’t overheat just hotter than normal. I let her cool down and added oil and got it home doing about 35. The car never ran out of oil. Checking it out right now there’s no leaks that I can see from anywhere. Not from any gaskets nor hoses. I just did a new valve cover gasket and it is sealed well. It’s not blowing oil out anywhere right now. Fires up fine. Idles fine. But now when you put it in gear it nearly dies and sounds rough. There’s no knocking nor ticking whatsoever so I don’t think I spun a bearing or anything of that matter. No coolant in oil. I know 318K is a lot so it’s time for a rebuild regardless. I’m just lost as to where the oil came from and why it barely can run when in gear after this happening.

  • #2
    Your pretty thorough description of what's happening and what is not happening tells me that you have a classic case of worn out rings.
    If you did cylinder compression checks I believe that you would prove that very quickly. Valve seals are most likely shot as well.
    The o ring on your distributor is probably hardened and is providing minimum seal so as the engine heats the pressure build up in the valve head is pushing oil out there (thus the oil on the left side of your engine).

    You have to have good compression for the engine to run and produce power. If you were closer, I would say come by and pick up the engine in my garage... at only about 150K it was still running good when removed.


    • #3
      Black or white smoke? Compression check - dry then wet - should reveal worn rings. Vacuum guage (see above, top of page) can reveal other engine problems, eg valves. Cost of compression and vacuum guages would be less than labour cost of having tests done. You can also try engine cleaning additives. When my #3 exhaust valve was leaking some chemical cleaner disovlved the carbon build up and compression returned to normal. Good luck.
      Original owner of silver grey carburetted 1989 Festiva. 105k km as of June 2006.