How can Pushrods just vanish!? - Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
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Old 03-27-2009, 09:27 PM
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How can Pushrods just vanish!?

I'm baffled and a little scared by this. After a series of issues that I'll describe below, I removed my driver side valve cover to find that the #2 Cylinder pushrods are MISSING (not bent, GONE). How did they vanish?! The story gets weirder is you'll follow me here...

First of all, here's what I'm looking at on Injector/Cylinder #2:





Dent in Valve cover from above the rocker arm



Here's the backstory...

I was on my way from Philadelphia to Johnson City TN. I was cruising at 65mph for a good 7 hours or so with no problems when suddenly, there was a loud bang, the engine lost power and there was a loud jackhammer-like sound from the engine that seemed to be in-time with the rpms.

Here's what it sounded like:
E350_Banging.mp3

Very reminiscent of Julian's (Twin Turbo Stroker) issue posted here:
Thumping/Knocking Video.....

I was on the side of the highway at night and the engine was still running, so I decided to limp to the next exit 3 miles down. I got to a rest area and after I parked I let it idle for a minute or two and the knocking suddenly stopped!

At that point the idle was rough and the engine had low power, but it got me to Johnson City. That same night I had to push it further to Chattanooga- another 120 miles.

The next morning, I took a look at what I could. The engine oil level was very high. It usually takes about 17 quarts and I drained about 22 quarts out and changed the oil and filter. At the time I didn't realize that was a sign of possible fuel in the oil.

It seemed to run a little better, but it was still idling rough, low power, and a little bit of while smoke out the exhaust. I had to push on to Atlanta GA where I was able to check things out a little better.

Suspecting a bad injector, I ran a buzz test with Auto Enginuity and got:

P1277 High to Low Side Open - Cylinder 7

Pulled the passenger side valve cover and took out the Under Valve Cover (UVC) Harness. I cleaned everything up and installed the Retaining clip that ford recommends to keep the connection tight. (Ford) 2C3Z-14A163-AB

Buzzed the injectors again- Test Successful. I put everything back together and started her up and still got a rough idle and some white smoke out the exhaust. No codes tripping.

Then I ran a Cylinder Contribution Test and got:
p0266 Cylinder #2 Contribution/Balance Fault
p0272 Cylinder #4 Contribution/Balance Fault
p0278 Cylinder #6 Contribution/Balance Fault

Since all 3 driver side cylinders were having issues, I suspected a loose UVC Harness on that side as well. I took off the driver side Valve cover and found that Cylinder #2 was missing both pushrods!

I stuck my fingers down the holes to see if I could feel anything and looked down into them, but those pushrods are no where to be found! This is where I am now. I haven't put the engine back together. I'm shocked at these missing pushrods and need an answer for peace of mind.

I've never heard of the pushrods falling down into the engine block and if they did, I REALLY don't think I would have been able to drive 330 miles without the engine seizing up.

I have 2 theories:

1.) Possibly the pushrods were never there? I bought this in Oct 2007 from a craigslist personal sale and have since driven it over 30,000 miles from Philadelphia to Alaska and back. I feel like if the pushrods were never there, I would have noticed I was only running on 7 cylinders from a slurry of "hints." But maybe? And if they never were there, then what caused the sudden knocking sound? ...but then again, it DID go away on it's own. Could it all have been electrical and intermittent?

2.) The pushrods SOMEHOW managed to slip down into the engine block and SOMEHOW haven't completely fouled up everything- allowing me to drive 330 miles on the highway with 20 inches of metal tucked away into the engine. While this doesn't sound very plausible to me, it does explain the sudden knocking sound (but not why it disappeared), and the rough idle/low power, and the rising engine oil level (if the fuel is indeed mixing in with the oil).

I'd really like to get your informed/educated/experienced opinions on possible explanations for all this. I feel like I'm trying to choose between 2 equally implausible situations!

Thanks!
-Matt!

Last edited by MattMose; 03-27-2009 at 09:33 PM.
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Old 03-27-2009, 09:43 PM
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uhh..weird
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Old 03-27-2009, 09:47 PM
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Wow that is frickin weird !
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Old 03-27-2009, 09:56 PM
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Time to pull the motor... There in your oil pan! I dont know how the hell they made it down there without fuking something else up but!

You need to pull the motor, replace the rod on that cylinder, replace the pushrods and head gaskets. Might need some lifter work too!
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Old 03-27-2009, 10:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CSIPSD View Post
Time to pull the motor... There in your oil pan! I dont know how the hell they made it down there without fuking something else up but!

You need to pull the motor, replace the rod on that cylinder, replace the pushrods and head gaskets. Might need some lifter work too!
This is correct.


Push rods are in the pan. Most likely in pieces. You also have a 80 chance you busted the lifter retainers. If you are lucky, the lifters stayed in the bores and didn't score the lift bores up too badly or gouge the cam up.


I wouldn't pull the motor just yet. Pull the head. You MIGHT get lucky find the push rods bunched up under the oil rail (under the gasket as well, hard to explain). Take a lot of clear pics. I can walk you through this.

Last edited by Dirk; 03-27-2009 at 10:33 PM.
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Old 03-27-2009, 10:35 PM
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This is the first time i have ever heard of that happening to any motor, what would cause this to even be possible?
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Old 03-27-2009, 10:54 PM
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Thanks CSIPSD and Dirk. This sounds like its getting above my experience/comfort level. But I also happen to be brazen and fool-hardy, so I'm not above digging in... that's how I got this far afterall.

I was planning on checking the oil pan for metal shavings tomorrow morning thinking the push rods may have been shredded without ruining everything in their path... I'll be sure to let you know what I find.

If they are indeed in the oil pan, my next question is, how/why did the pushrods blow DOWN into the engine instead of staying bent in the bores? Myself and most people here have never heard of such a thing! Seems like it would be a PSD suicide pill.
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Old 03-28-2009, 05:21 AM
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Most people shut down their engines when they bend a push rod, so maybe driving it a few hundred miles broke it into little bitty pieces that ended up some where else in the engine. Just a guess.
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Old 03-28-2009, 06:43 AM
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Wow this is weird. I cant wait to see these pics. I to wonder how all this happened with out ruining the engine!
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Old 03-28-2009, 07:32 AM
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I would definatly tear that engine down and find those pushrods. They are there somewhere
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