Join Date: May 2017
Need Engine Help ASAP Please!
Brand new member to this forum, and in desperate need of diesel mechanic educated advice. Going to do my best to keep this as short as possible while still trying to provide all the info needed for you guys to help me troubleshoot and fix.
My truck is a 2005.5 4WD and has been down for over 3 years now. Engine blew at roughly 150k miles while driving to work on interstate at approximately 70-75 mph. No previous white smoke issues, no check engine lights, no warnings or signs whatsoever. Service work always done on time and maintained by local dealership.
Traveling down interstate early morning around 4:30AM, truck dumped tons of white smoke out of the exhaust and I coasted to side of road and that was last it lived never to restart again. Would turn over first few tries, but shortly after seemed hydro locked. Had towed home, and upon troubleshoot found that fuel was mixed with oil but no water, and almost all coolant had gone out the exhaust. Pulled glow plugs to drain and check, very little water came out when turned over. All glow plugs ohm tested good. No sign of cause of failure, but end result of overheating at that speed with aluminum heads and knew by sound of motor turning over that compression and heads were shot. At that point was advised cheaper and better to find another motor to rebuild, than try to tear down and try to figure out why and how to repair this on.
Due to financial binds, looked for several months trying to find a deal on a motor I could afford to buy. After almost 6 months, I finally found one with little over 140k miles on it in a salvaged rear ended truck with no front damage. Truck was also a 2005.5 with LLY, but 2 wheel drive. When I arrived to buy it, they had already removed it from truck. Said it was just running fine before they pulled it out 3 days before, but now I couldn't witness it and had no way of test running it removed. Due to this, I negotiated price down to half what they were asking, and decided I was going to break down this motor all the way down to the block. This way I could look inside cylinders and ensure no damage, do head studs and new gaskets, and all preventative maintenance I could upon rebuild so no worries once installed back in truck.
I bought the motor, transmission, all engine harnesses and electronics (ECU, TCU, etc.). Tore down to block, cylinder walls fine and spin over easily. no visible signs or evidence of sitting up or wear. Best I could tell it had been running and they told me the truth.
Had local reputable head shop break heads completely down and bake all sludge buildup out of intakes, completely clean, check all components, blue true valve seating and ensure all was reassembled and ready to go verified good as new. I did front and rear main seals, upgraded water pump to billet with welded impeller to shaft, and all new seals and gaskets. Installed ARP head studs, and Victor Reinz premium gaskets. Everything torqued and sealed to factory specs. While had broke down, I degreased and super cleaned entire motor and inspected for leak spots or signed any other tube-applied gasket sealant might have been leaking or needed to be redone. All was ready to go. I also cleaned out all intake runners, resealed.
I owned truck since 30k miles, and bought from a friend who had bought it new and same dealership had maintained all maintenance on it since day one. Truck had never blown any sort of white smoke or any signs of turbo seal weakness, but I had previously recently been advised that it was getting close to time for those turbo seals to start going bad. For fear of my original turbo maybe contributing somehow to the failure, and having the turbo from original motor and replacement motor next to each other, the bearings on other turbo felt way smoother and my original. I took apart that turbo to inspect and verify best I could its integrity. It seemed in overall better shape, so I decided to use it on rebuild. I had also damaged the vein control plug top on my original turbo when pulling blown motor out of my truck.
I removed all loom and tape off my original motor engine harnesses, inspected and certified them, and taped back up and re loomed. On rebuild, I used my original verified harnesses, original electronics (ECU and TCU) and fuel computer. Original ECU has a super mild tune loaded into it that shouldn't affect anything (previous owner had a plug in programmer loaded into original ECU, and it would not let it uninstall it. I had the dealership try to wipe it and re-flash the ECU, and when it wiped it, ECU would take any programming back into it. So I had to order a new one and had a mild tune put into it for fuel mileage and little pep upon start up only). That's why I went with my original ECU, and was advised that since both motors were 2005.5 engines, would be fine and no issues using it on rebuilt motor. I kept my original transmission as I knew its maintenance and history, and transferred over my EGR delete from original motor. Upon rebuild, I also did the PCV Bypass upgrade, as well as a few recommended fuel system upgrades. Upgraded to the Sinister big CAT fuel filter kit, PPE Release Valve Shim Kit 113072000 , (2) PPE Ported Fuel Rail Fittings part number 113071000 (x2), and cleaned all fuel rails and lines. Decided at this point to use my original motors fuel injectors, due to the fact I knew their history. Just after my factory warranty had expired on original motor, I had an injector fail and start shooting diesel all under my hood. Had towed to dealership and researched and discovered there were known issues with the 2005-2005.5 year truck injectors. I insisted that the dealership replace all 8 injectors to the new replacement factory injectors under the extended warranty claim and be done once and for all with all known old problem style. For that reason I didn't know which injectors were in the engine I had bought. Also (and I really hope I don't regret this decision), when I had valley open I didn't see any reason to tear out the CP3, and didn't know how to test to verify it was good or not. So CP3 from bought motor is what's left and in rebuilt motor.
Got all built and installed into truck. At this point it had been 3 years since that truck last ran. Tank was low, but I filled it up with new diesel after I had already pumped some forward to filter primer in a cup. Didn't smell weak or appear bad or look off, so just topped off tank with brand new diesel to mix and started trying to prime it up. After a few tried to pump up prime and turn over, I realized I had forgotten to plug in my CAI with my mass air flow sensor in it. So there was my check engine light. Got fired up within about 15 mins. Ran just barely a little rough, and smelled fuel rich burning out exhaust. Stopped and started it a few times and let it run a good while, to let it warm up to operating temp and also see if it would level out (after sitting for so long and fresh rebuild to see if it just needed to get assembly lubes and fluids and such circulated). No change, so shut it down and called over a mechanic friend of mine to bring his scan tool. He came over and only code was Mass Airflow from me neglecting to plug it in first few times trying to prime.
Had to move days after that, so rather than risk damaging motor, I had it flat bedded to my new house. Truck was running way rich, and never knowing what caused original motor to fail, started to make sense that seemed injector/s may be stuck open. At idle would just run rich and send out exhaust, but maybe at high rpm's (like on interstate) same issue would cause to blow cylinder seals/gaskets and maybe that's what actually happened when it blew up? after months of trying to get several people over to run a power balance test to try to help determine which side and/or which injectors were having issues, I became frustrated and gave up on waiting. Truck started easy and ran every time, just ran little rough and super rich fuel smell from exhaust. I had another 8 injectors from bought motor, so I decided to remove tips and clean all soot and verify all spray holes and pattern were good and reassemble. Did so and swapped all injectors over.
At this point is where my real frustration and problems started. I am not a mechanic nor diesel mechanic. First to admit it. But I am very mechanically inclined, very sharp. I have the Chilton's Duramax LLY book, researched best I possibly could, and feel confident in everything I did. My whole life I have custom built and worked on every manor of things. From cars to planes to houses, electronics, lighting, stereos, custom fiberglass and built intricate show cars and SEMA vehicles and interiors, etc. I am by far not some guru or badass; all that is only to say that if I don't feel confident that I can do it correctly, I don't do it or I consult with people who do it as there profession until I do know how to do it. All this started in middle of a divorce and cancer and loosing my business.......so out of pure necessity and not being able to afford anything but me doing all the work and scraping together for parts and supplies over years is why. Paid my truck off 2 months after it blew up and its been sitting rotting since. I have to give the old car I've been driving to work to my son before school starts again next year. I feel so close to this thing being running and fine, but lack of experience and knowledgeable advice has me in a serious corner here, with time at my heels!! I'm just getting out of that huge financial hole and all those life set backs. But I don't think I can afford to bring it to a local diesel shop and have them fix it for me. If I cannot figure it out soon to see what I should do and how much its gonna cost or fix it myself, I'm gonna have to sell it and everything with it as is broke and not running and get next to nothing for it; just so I can go buy a super cheap beater car or truck to get back and forth to work in; so that my son can go to his senior year part high school part tech school classes. He has to have his own vehicle to be accepted and attend.
Once I swapped injectors, truck wont prime and start! Batteries seemed weak, were bough new when I installed rebuilt motor, but since had been on a maintainer charger in driveway that kids and wife kept accidentally unplugging and I wouldn't know until truck was dead when I got time to go try to work on it. I had them tested, they are 800 CCA batteries each, and had battery warehouse test them each at up to 1200 CCA and they both tested good. I big roll around charger with a true hold 200A start function. Upon starting seemed motor would try at first, but very rapidly motor would turn slower and it would try to start less. all the priming at bulb developed a leak and primer button, so I replaced all gaskets and seals with new rebuild kit for primer block. Filter filled with diesel, primes up good, and had leak at schreder valve at CP3 intake tube (was priming and pushing fuel out into under plastic cap). So if fuel is leaking out, air could/should be leaking in. Removed test port and capped off with Merchant Autos brass cap and Teflon tape. Primer would easily shoot fuel out of the hole when removed, so feel I do not have a priming problem before the CP3.
I have rechecked everything I had to unplug and remove and reinstall to swap the injectors a thousand and one times. Been over everything I can think of. When injectors were swapped, I installed brand new o rings and crush washers on all.
Truck will spit and sputter, smoke out exhaust like it is trying and it surely is trying. I almost starts, but wont quite get there. I even got frustrated enough to try a rag full of starting fluid over the filter to help it just get past the first start and help prime itself up and start. Key on, glow plugs heat up and light goes off, fully charged batteries with charger on start function and all ready to go.......will try and literally almost run...but wont.
At this point I have been lost and frustrated for a month. It has been almost 8 months since we've moved and I've gotten nowhere with this thing whatsoever! I do not have scan tool or any computer to plug into it, but all other tools I have. Multi-meter, etc. I am very electrically knowledgeable, so any test you suggest to verify I assure I can handle if can be done from home. If more than that is needed, I will figure out how to get someone to come or loan me the tool to do so.
Please any advice or help offered from diesel mechanics or anyone very familiar with LLY Duramax engine and troubleshooting would be greatly appreciated and is much needed. And take it easy on the noob here, anything I may have not don't correctly or not tried will purely be out of ignorance and I accept that! LOL
Thanks in advanced guys!!!