29th Jun 2002, 02:50

First off, HARRY, check your E-mail (sgtgreen@yahoo.com).

To the person who posted the comments that Harry, and now I, replied to:

The most probable reason your engine smokes at startup is worn valve seals.

There are rubber o-rings that fit onto both the intake and exhaust valves in your cylinder head that allow for engine oil to lubricate the valve stems, as they move, but seal the oil from entering the cylinder.

As time goes on, these seals wear out and can cause small amounts of oil to leak past.

The result is added smoke during startup, as everything in the engine is "cold" at that point.

As the engine runs, it builds up heat. When enough heat has built-up, the o-rings will expand (as anything will when heated) and once again seal the engine oil out of the cylinder.

The cure for this is a simple "head job".

If you're not mechanically inclined, or don't have the proper repair manual and/or tools, this type of work is best performed by a qualified professional.

When the cylinder head is refurbished, valve guides and all seals will automatically be replaced.

Another reason for that smoke MAY be a stuck choke.

When the engine is cold, the choke is automatically turned on.

This richens the fuel/air mixture entering the engine, allowing the engine to run smoother during this warm-up period.

As engine heats comes up to operating tempreature, the choke is supposed to "shut off".

If it sticks, it will keep the air/fuel mixture in a "rich" condition, meaning there will be an excessive amount of fuel entering the engine, compared to amount of air entering the engine.

Unfortunately, the old trick of checking the colour of the tailpipe doesn't work on vehicles that contain a catalytic converter (and you've got 2), since the chemical reaction that happens inside the converter renders water as part of it's emission, thereby, "cleaning" the end of the tailpipe.

As for your noisy lifters, you may need to replace the lifters AND the oil pump in your truck.

The oil pump on a Mazda B2200 is located on the front of the engine, with the front snout of the crankshaft running through it (that's how it's driven).

This is a common placement for any 4-cylinder import engine.

When I rebuilt my engine, I noticed that the oil pressure regulator is built into the oil pump, as it has been on most vehicles for many years now.

The oil pressure regulator in our engine consists of a tubular looking passage in the oil pump in which a steel piston moves within it. There are also 2 holes in the passage, one goes to the main bearings, the other leads back to the oil pan.

This is how pressure is regulated in most engines. As the pressure builds, it pushes against the piston until it uncovers the second hole.

Oil is then allowed to drain back into the pan, thereby holding the oil pressure to a set amount.

The problem with our particular engine is that the body of the oil pump is Aluminum.

The piston, which regulates the oil pressure, is STEEL... WITH VERY SHARP EDGES.

... (starting to get the picture?)...

The sharp edges of the piston act like a wood plane, and wear away at the passage in the pump, eventually rendering the shape more like a football than a tube.

Eventually, this allows the piston to cock in the passage, allowing oil to ALWAYS bleed back into the pan.

This causes a slightly low oil pressure condition, and makes it just low enough, so that the hydraulic lifters don't see an ample amount of oil.

Since they're nothing more than hydraulic pistons themselves, the seal contained within them, wears away prematurely, due to the lack of sufficient oil, causing them to lose the oil pressure inside themselves, which makes the lifters "noisy".

The sound you're hearing are the lifters actually banging against the top of the valves!

This can chip away at the valve, and if left long enough, can either break the valve, or chip enough material away, that the "key" which holds the valve in place slips free allowing the valve to fall inside the cylinder while the engine is running, causing a lot of internal damage to the engine.

At that point, you may be able to rebuild it, but you'll at least have to replace the cylinder head and the piston.

If the walls of the cylinder obtain deep gouges in them, from the valve (s) banging around inside the cylinder, then a whole new engine may be in order, since most import 4 cylinders are only built to be over-bored, maybe.040" max.

Of course, the valve falling into the cylinder is an absolute worst case scenario, but if left untreated, this could quite possibly happen.

Can't tell you why the steering is so stiff.

Are you running especially "sticky" tires on it?

When I first got my truck, I put on a set of Michelin X's and I found they were incredibly sticky.

They actually increased the amount of play in my steering wheel.

I've been using a more "generic" brand of tire since those hit their 50K mile limit, at which time I changed them out.

The "generic" tires were not only cheaper, but they're not as "sticky", and the steering became easier.

Here's another thing... what tire pressure are you running most of the time?

According to the sticker inside the drivers side door, you should normally run 26 psi in the front and 24 psi in the rear.

I've found that if you increase the front tire pressure slightly, to 28 psi, that the steering becomes remarkably easier, without any affect to tire wear.

Lastly, you remark that the truck is slow.

Well, first off, you have to remember you have a small displacement 4 cylinder, not a 425hp Chrysler Hemi, under that hood.

The factory states that the engine only made 85 horsepower and about 117 lbs./ft. of torque, so your remark that it's "slow" may be relative.

You should be getting to 60mph in around 12 seconds and 1/4 mile times should be around 18 seconds, if you push it hard.

However, the choke/high idle on that particular series of carburetor is all controlled by one screw.

Basically, once you set the choke, the high idle is automatically set.

There's a boss cast into the body of the carburetor that you use as something to measure against.

The arm that the adjustment screw moves should clearance that boss by only.063" when the engine is cold.

The problem here is that when you set that clearance, high idle on our engine approaches 6000 rpm!

Being a former mechanic, I know this rpm is WAY too high, for an engine that's "freewheeling" (no load). In fact, I noticed actual chips around the oil holes on the rod bearings when I rebuilt my engine, and attribute them to this and the oil pump problem I wrote about earlier.

The reason Mazda decided to do this was to reduce warm-up time (i.e., faster the engine turns, the faster it warms up).

The engine is only supposed to sit in "high idle mode" for no more than about 30 seconds. However, In all the time I've owned my truck, I've never known this to happen. It'll just run and run and run, until I physically went out and kicked the high idle by popping the accelerator pedal.

I've heard similar stories from other Mazda owners.

My solution was to simply turn the high idle down to a more "normal" 1600 rpm.

Unfortunately, this throws the choke so far out of whack, that it causes the choke to constantly be on (one would have to lengthen the rod connecting the arms, in order to set things back right, so the old trick of "bending the rod" on early emissions Rochester carbs doesn't work here).

What I noticed, mostly, from all of this was a LACK OF POWER, since the choke plates were always closed.

I also noticed dismal gas mileage.

Constant freeway driving at 55mph (the limit back then) only yielded about 22 mpg. It should've been closer to 25 mpg.

Once I removed the choke plates (2 screws), the engine regained it's former power and my mileage came back up to more respectable levels.

I've been running the truck this way for about 5 or 6 years now.

However, the downside is longer warm up times.

If I start the truck now, and try to take off right away, it bucks and frequently stalls, since the mixture isn't rich enough to ensure the engine runs properly during the cold condition.

SO, if you can live with sitting around for a minute or two while the engine warms up, this might help... of course, that is IF you've lowered the high idle speed, as I did.

Otherwise, accept the truck for what it is, and if you wanna go fast, drop a hot big block into an ol' Chevelle and take it to the track.

Hope you found this helpful,

Dean Seaman.

8th Aug 2002, 03:52

OK. First the choke. Simple. Do what I did. Unhook it. But be ready to go when you get in. Not going to idle for long. Only way I have found, after 850-some-odd thousand miles. And with only one major overhaul. This was the result of a slung timing belt.

Steering? Well that was easier than the engine. I upped the tire size a little, well, if you call 275/60/15 a little. 8 inch wheels, stock offset. Nope, it is lowered 2 inches front and rear. And yes they rub, though not too bad. I found this actually made it easier to steer, but you have to get it rolling to see the difference. An increase in handling that makes it a pleasure to drive.

Seating and comfort. Scrap the old seats and go for buckets. 87 Blazers seats fit great. Throw in a cheap aftermarket center console and you got comfort and leg room. I stand right at 6 ft. and fit like a glove. While we are sitting in our trucks, lets look at the radio. Why did they put it there? My thought was to relocate it under the middle vents. Not so easy with a big face radio though.

I used my 90 model as an escort vehicle. Made a good choice too. It has been almost as far as you can go without loading it on a boat. I was a little unsure when I got it as to if it would last, but not now. It made a believer out of me. After nearly a million miles, it is still in my driveway.

Power. Well, I had to make some of my own mods. there. First was the choke. Tied it open, no need to remove the flaps that way. Could have went with a manual choke too though, but I get in and go so no need for it. Even at 2 degrees it has always fired right up, almost every time. There has been a few times its failed, but that was the battery.

One mod was the converter below the manifold. Had to go. Home-made headers did the trick. They were easy to make too. That really made a difference. But the runners have to be the same length. Then you can have dual-true dual-exhaust. And that little engine sounds great like that. Experiment with which cylinders to connect to get the sound you like from it.

Next was the stock coil. They need a hotter coil to come alive. Split-fire plugs are a boost too. But don't overlook the cap and whats inside. Can't tell all my secrets so go experiment on yours.

Also, don't forget the oil pressure. I am sure most suffer low readings on the gauge. But I found that the pump can be up-graded or better yet, just turn the screw and let her flow. Most are adjustable, but be careful here, wrong way and you kill oil pressure. And that's the life blood of the engine.

As for performance, well it is not a Ferrari, so don't expect much from it. After all most 2000 and 2200 trucks weigh about 3000 pounds. Heavy for four little cylinders to push along at 55 miles an hour. But a few changes and mine went from 0 to 60 in just under 7 seconds. Not bad for four little cylinders. And reaches speeds of around 125-30 on top end. Not cheaply though. You have to pay to play. But after all the changes it has gone through, I still get 20 in town and close to 28 on the highway, as long as my right foot stays light.

One more thing. I had trouble with mine blowing oil out into the breather, with pcv valves clogging up too often. They call it blow by. I solved that problem by adding a slobber tube. Take the pcv valve out and toss it, but be sure to plug the line so you don't cause a vacuum leak. Where the tube that runs to the breather connects to the valve cover, remove it and add a piece of plain old garden hose. Run this down to below the oil pan and tie it to the frame with a wire tie. I found this saves those messy crank shaft and camshaft seal leaks that develope from the pcv getting stopped up and keeps the pressure from blowing oil into the air cleaner.

Hope maybe I helped someone with what I gathered over 6 years of owning my truck. Which has what I just read to have exactly 852612 miles on it. One engine rebuild and some tricks added. But still has the same tranny and rear axle she was born with.