R53 Engine Swap - Crank but no start diagnosis

Discussion in '1st Generation: 2002–06 R50, R53 & 2004–08 R52' started by SR-53 Blackbird, Oct 31, 2023.

  1. SR-53 Blackbird

    SR-53 Blackbird New Member

    Oct 31, 2023
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    First time posting after reading through these forums for years, has been an invaluable resource!

    Recently bought a 2005 R53 Mini with a blown engine with the intent to buy a used engine and swap it in.

    Ended up buying a used long block with ~100k miles from Redline Autoparts to fit the bill. The listing for the engine stated that the cylinders had consistent compression at ~170-175 psi (saw a video of the test).

    I've installed everything and I am now at the point where I'm ready to start the car up, but the engine cranks with no start. I have checked fuel pressure (~55 psi) and checked the spark at the plugs with an in-line spark tester. The main red flag is that I am only getting 15-30 psi across all cylinders (dry, still need to do a wet test).

    The OBD is showing me a few codes: P0341 - Camshaft position sensor A - range/performance problem P0340 - Camshaft position sensor A - circuit malfunction P2303 and P2300 - Ignition Coil Circuit Low - Ignition Coil B & A, respectively. P0456 - EVAP system, very small leak detected.

    In the process of installing the new engine, I replaced just about everything that you can/should replace. This includes all gaskets (head, valve cover, oil pan, supercharger, water pump, thermostat, etc.) and all sensors (Crank position, Cam position, thermostat, O2 sensor, etc.). Also replaced the battery, timing chain tensioner, spark plugs, coil pack, coil wires, alternator, fuel injectors, radiator, starter motor, put in an LSD, and likely a number of other things I'm forgetting.

    At this point, I am suspecting a timing issue due to user error when re-installing the cam, timing chain, and tensioner. That will be easy enough to check, but I am honestly nervous to check because I'm worried the timing will be fine and I won't know where to go from here, haha.

    Given the codes, it also crossed my mind that the new CAM position sensor I installed may have been a dud. I did get the cheapest one I could find on amazon... I have a used OEM sensor from AllMag ordered just in case...

    Some other possibly relevant things that I did NOT replace with new parts include: the timing chain tensioner, the timing chain itself, the camshaft, the cam sprocket, the fuel pressure regulator, fuel filter....maybe also worth noting that I put on a 15% reduction supercharger pulley and higher volume output injectors...

    I also had to gently wet sand down (~800-1200 grit) some rust off the cylinder walls (mostly in cly 4) to get it unstuck after it sitting for a while, but it seems unlikely that would have caused an issue...

    Any thoughts on what else I might check for given this information?
     
  2. MCS02

    MCS02 Moderator
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    Hi,
    I will start with wet sanding the cylinders. I would have used a hone. If it was to much for a hone then it needs to be boarded. Did you rebuild the short block? I thought you got a complete short block. This could be part of the compression problem. Other than that it could be valves not sealing. Did you have the head reworked? Last it could be the timing. That is the first thing I thought of till I read the rest of your post.
    As for the codes, I would clear them and see what comes back. Right now I don’t think any of those codes are your problem, it sounds mechanical.
     
  3. MCS02

    MCS02 Moderator
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    Edit. I just reread your post. You bought a long block not a short block? If I bought a long block that I was told had good compression, then took the head off and found rust in the cylinders I would have sent it back.
    What kind of code reader do you have? Do you have a Bentley manual? I am very sorry to ask this question but what is your skill level?
    I am sure we can figure it out
     
  4. SR-53 Blackbird

    SR-53 Blackbird New Member

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    For the wet sanding, I was just trying to take off a layer of rust that had built up from the engine sitting for a while. It was keeping the cylinders from moving smoothly even with oil to lubricate. It didn't seem worth using the hone, but admittedly, this was my first time trying something like that. Also worth noting, I only sanded cylinders 3 & 4, and those ironically have the highest relative compression.

    I wouldn't say I "re-built" the block per se. I only removed the head to check the cylinders and replace the head gasket, and then the oil pan to clean it out/put on a new gasket. The rest of the block stayed together. The head wasn't reworked/milled.

    Fair point on clearing the codes and seeing what comes back. I will see what turns up. Thanks!
     
  5. SR-53 Blackbird

    SR-53 Blackbird New Member

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    Yeah, in hindsight it probably would have been the right call to send it back, but I was eager to get moving on the project, so I accepted that flaw once I saw I was able to get the engine cranking by hand. Likely will have to just make it work at this point.

    The code reader I have is just a cheap Bluetooth reader off Amazon that pairs with the Torque app on my phone. I have a copy of the Haynes Repair Manual, but not the Bentley manual that I've heard about and seen excerpts from.

    I've done a number of smaller jobs on other cars like clutch swaps, center diff on a subaru, a number of bolt ons on various cars, etc. But this is my first time with a project of this scale, so I definitely could have missed something..
     
  6. 00Mini

    00Mini Well-Known Member

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    After checking everything that has been mentioned you might want to do a leak down test.
     
  7. MCS02

    MCS02 Moderator
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    I hate to say this but you are painting a bad picture in my mind. You very will may get away with sanding the cylinders but its a very bad start to a project. If it was so rusty it was keeping the pistons from moving smoothly you may have bad rings now. The cylinder are measured in thousands on an inch and must be round. If not your rings can not seal. I cant find the tolerance for the cylinder.
    When you pulled the head did you get all the old head gasket cleaned off? The head can only have a 0.004 warpage before it needs to be planed. It must be flat.
    I would start with checking the timing. if it is spot on and the compression is still low check it wet. If it comes up than you may be doing a rebuild. If not maybe your problem is the head. Did you torque the head correctly?
    I would not worry about the electronics for now you have a compression problem that needs to be sorted first.
     
  8. 00Mini

    00Mini Well-Known Member

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    It’s for this very reason why you earn the big bucks as Technical Director. :D
     
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  9. MCS02

    MCS02 Moderator
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    @SR-53 Blackbird let us know what you find. I like your tag SR53 hope it ends up that fast.
     
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  10. SR-53 Blackbird

    SR-53 Blackbird New Member

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    Well I was able to check the timing this morning and it was off by about 4 teeth.

    I got it realigned, but then when I went to crank the engine manually, it would click about 8 times per full revolution, and by the time I got back around to TDC, the alignment was off by a few teeth. As I continued to crank, it continued to become more misaligned.

    It seemed as if the tensioner guide on the side where the tensioner actually contacts was holding the chain firmly, but the other side there appears to be slack in the chain.

    I've got a whole timing chain kit replacement in the mail, but any thoughts on what specifically might be
    wrong?
     
  11. MCS02

    MCS02 Moderator
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    The only thing off the top of my head is maybe the guide on the side that is loose is broken or the key on the crank or cam is not in place allowing the sprocket to slip.

    I am sure you have already done this but here are a couple YouTube videos. you will have to skip to the part you need. the first one is about 14 min in the second one is around 20min in.





    Do you have the cam lock tool?
     
  12. SR-53 Blackbird

    SR-53 Blackbird New Member

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    I do have the cam lock tool.

    It seems that the cam key is at least in place. Getting to the crank sprocket to check that key will definitely take me a bit more time, haha.

    While I'm waiting for my timing kit to arrive, I'll try to take the guide on that side out and inspect it for damage etc. That should at least be easy enough to do for now.
     
  13. SR-53 Blackbird

    SR-53 Blackbird New Member

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    I was discussing this with someone on another site and they mentioned something interesting...

    They said that the alignment markings on the sprockets and the colored chain links are supposed to move relative to each other, and that it takes ~27 full revolutions for them to be back in alignment with each other...

    In other words once I start cranking, I should be expecting those markings to move out of alignment with each other? That seems odd, but I'm wondering now if that is actually supposed to be the case?
     
  14. Crashton

    Crashton Club Coordinator

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    It's sure worth keeping at the cranking. It should eventually line up. I hope...

    Good luck
     
  15. SR-53 Blackbird

    SR-53 Blackbird New Member

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    I guess my concern is that if it is moving while I'm cranking it manually, what would keep it from continuing to move while being cranked by the operation of the engine?
     
  16. MCS02

    MCS02 Moderator
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    Oh duhh! Sorry I thought you meant the pulleys themselves were changing. I should have read closer. There was an adult beverage involved last night.
    That is the same way the 2ZZ motor in my Exige is. It takes several revolutions to get the chain and marks lined up. If the timing marks on the cam pulley and crank are lining up then it does not matter where the chain is if your just checking timing. If I am taking the chain off I get everything lined up. But you should not have slack in the chain on ether side.
     
  17. MCS02

    MCS02 Moderator
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  18. 00Mini

    00Mini Well-Known Member

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  19. MCS02

    MCS02 Moderator
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    Yes the first time was a well……..you know.:D
     
  20. SR-53 Blackbird

    SR-53 Blackbird New Member

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    I just had a "d'oh" moment myself here... of course the markings would be off once you start spinning the sprocket... its circumference is less than the length of the chain so it will revolve at a different rate than the odd colored chain link comes around.

    Okay, that makes me feel better. However, I do note 8 distinct "click" noises upon every revolution. Hoping to figure out what that might before I button things back up. I'll post a short video later when I get a chance.
     

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