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emission test - fails HC


decolores9's Avatar
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01-01-03, 10:07 AM   #1  
decolores9
emission test - fails HC

My 1989 Ford Festiva with a 2BBL carb, manual transmission, and 235,000 miles is having trouble passing the emission test. The only thing failing is the HC, with the test center says is due to "unburned gas". The car runs well, still gets great gas mileage, doesn't smell like gas, etc. However, as you might imagine with an engine with that mileage, it burns a little oil - perhaps a quart per 1000 miles or so.

A friend who used to work at an auto parts store says that mechanics told him older cars will fail HC due to the oil being burned, and that if you change the oil and use synthetic oil instead of petroleum oil, it will pass. Can anyone confirm this?

FWIW, I have done all the usual stuff - valve adjustment, replace plugs/wires/cap/rotor/02 sensor, ran 'guaranteed to pass' through it, changed the oil, etc.

Thanks.

 
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01-01-03, 10:11 AM   #2  
Joe_F
You likely have a tired carburetor in need of a rebuild at this stage of the game. That would contribute to the high HC readings. By how much did you fail?

Sure, oil burning will contribute to HC readings as oil is an HC product . Try using a little thicker grade of oil (say 10W40 over the normal 10W30 or 5W30 that would be recommended for this car). See if that helps. If not, step up to 20W50, but the gas mileage and cold start ability may suffer. If it burns 10W40 in all honesty, the internals of the motor are wasted and it's on borrowed time.

235k on on one of these is a MIRACLE. They are throwaway, cheaply built, deathtraps . You obviously took good care of it to keep it going .

 
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01-01-03, 11:02 AM   #3  
decolores9
Festiva longevity

235k on on one of these is a MIRACLE. They are throwaway, cheaply built, deathtraps . You obviously took good care of it to keep it going .

----

The HC reading was 325, 220 spec limit. In 1999, the reading was 218, with around 180K miles. Maybe it IS just getting old and worn.

What would be other signs of an engine on it's last legs? Seems to fun fine, compression is well within spec in all cylinders.

Actually, though they were inexpensive cars, they hold up surprisingly well. There are Festiva dedicated forums. Most people seem to get 280K to 350K miles before needing major work. Of course, that assumes regular oil change and other proper maintenance.

This is the sixth car I have owned, and it is by far the most reliable, more so than the other 'brand name' imports and domestics I have owned. For example, I replaced the clutch for the first time about a year ago - at about 220K miles. According to other Festiva owners, that is a bit premature - guess that's what I get for living in a hilly city ;-)

For their size class, they had among the best NHTSA crash test performance for that model year - an important consideration when I bought it.

Biggest problem I have these days with it is that it is over 10 years old - so Ford is no longer making new parts for it, so OEM parts are getting hard to find. Fortunately, there are so many of them out there that most parts are available after market.

Thanks.

 
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01-01-03, 01:37 PM   #4  
Joe_F
As I said, it's a miracle, and you've taken good care of it.

218 on the HC is way too high, and was way too high last year. My 1980 and 1979 cars put out HALF that . Even my 84 Olds 88 with 144k on the clock flies through the NYS dyno with ease.

I would say if the compression checks out, it's either due to the oil burning or a tired carburetor. Has it consumed markedly more oil in the past year or so? If it has, there's your answer for the increased HC .

As for needing clutches and etc, when you're putting out a whopping 100 HP (at best), there's not much to wear out in a clutch. LOL.

I don't think there's much in this size class to compare it to . Lol.

I don't buy bottom end anything for the most part as you usually get what you pay for with few notable exceptions

 
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