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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
ok so here's the story. a friends 2001 kia sportage 4x4 died while she was on the freeway, she had it towed to a shop which told her it was most likely a head gasket and wanted 1800 to change it. I figured I could do it for less for her… my mistake I guess…

I popped the head off and found that the gasket looked great, but that there were 3 or 4 major cracks between valves in cylinders 2 and 3… they both had a bit of water in them as well… and the spark plug wires on cylinders 1 and 3 were melted to a crisp…

so I ordered a used head, new timing kit with water pump, spark plugs, wires, ignition coils, and radiator. the head was checked a shop then I installed new valve stem seals before reassembly… I installed all the new goodies and after topping off the fluids tried to start it, but no dice… it coughs a bit and acts like it wants to start but won't quite catch.

so my first thought is fouled plugs, I pull them and clean them again, spin the motor to see if anything blows out, observe that I can smell fuel, recheck the gap on the plugs and reinstall, still no dice.

jump the fuel pump just to be sure on the diagnostic terminal, can hear it cycle, and I checked the relays and fuses, still no dice.

so re checked the timing, found the intake to be a half a tooth off, I hadn't properly set the tension, so I redid all that, spun the motor repeatedly and rechecked time to be extra sure it was just right. re assembled again, still no dice. it coughs and feels like a cold car that needs more choke in the old days…

I assume from my understanding of these motors that I wouldn't have any spark if the crank and or cam sensors weren't working, and that since I smelled fuel that the injectors are working, and I know the timing is right… now what?

I can't promise that the cracked head is what did this motor in, could it be that something else let go causing us to notice the fluid in the cylinders? if I need to check the injectors what voltage should I look for? the spark when I grounded the a plug out on the block didn't seem super strong, but I can't promise that it had an excellent ground either…

I'm unsure what to do next so any direction to check would be greatly appreciated!

thanks in advance,
a confused and tired shade tree mechanic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Right! the cylinders did look a bit polished... i'll give that a whirl... thanks! sometimes you just need to check with somebody who's nose isn't stuck in the middle of it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
for anybody following this, did a compression test both dry and then with oil, and low and behold it was dismal... something like 50-60 psi on cylinders 2 and 3 and then 85-90 on 1 and 4. added oil and rechecked compression came up in all cylinders, not a ton on 2 and 3 but enough to convince me that its probably rings and not valves... anyways, at this point i'm gonna get new rings and do a complete tear down... bah! at least it is something fixable and not some damn electronic ghost.
 
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