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2008 Pontiac Solstice GXP - Mysterious
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
edited from the original title as if you read below turns out what I thought was a bent smashed valve was something way more unusual and lead to an unrelated discovery of possible QC issues with aftermarket charge pipes recieved the second half of this year. Please do check your cold side charge pipe with an endoscope before installing them to check for any possible unwanted metal chads or filings)
end of edit:

Ok, so I had a whole other posting thread about sputtering and all the rabbit holes I went down to attempt to source the problem.


Keep in mind the mileage on this vehicle is below 25k…

finally I got to the point where I pulled the intake manifold last night in the hopes it was a wiring issue with the fuel rail/injectors.
Alas, once I looked into cylinder 3’s intake port I discovered what looks like an inverted metal mushroom head jammed up into the port.

I can only assume it’s a valve head and that in the best case scenario, I will need to rebuild / replace the head. As I read more it seems recommended on this forum to replace the timing chain, tensioner as and guides while I am at it.

since the timing chain thing is a step above my pay grade, but being unwilling to take it to a mechanic around here (Los Angeles) because I don’t know any one I can trust… and in the interests of learning more about the engine, I think I am going to attempt it and post my experiences here.

I welcome any and all feedback, tips, pointers and jokes along the way :)

so here are the photos as a starter:
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
After pulling the cam phasers and valve cover I could ascertain ZERO metal particles.
I am assuming that is a good sign.
Automotive air manifold Automotive tire Black Motor vehicle Camshaft
Motor vehicle Light Automotive tire Automotive design Rim





And it appears the valve stem is still in place (I think, feel free to tell me I am mistaken): here is the intake cam and springs above cylinder 3:
It should be the one on the left in the photo below.
Light Motor vehicle Automotive design Auto part Automotive super charger part
 

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2008 Pontiac Solstice GXP - Mysterious
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Got a cheapee endoscope down the spark plug hole.
Had a hell of a time seeing much but here is a shot of the top of the cylinder #3 head (they all looked the same so I didn’t post pics of the other cylinder heads)

Astronomical object Gas Circle Electric blue Space
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I might be mistaken but this doesn't seem a valve to me? Rather something else valve shaped? Or, are our valve stems hollow..?
It looks like the end of the valve minus the stem.
I looks like it was blown off and the pressure inverted the shape
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Ok. So thanks for sparking some other lines of thought agent008.

things just got weird.

since I had resigned myself to having to replace the head, after reading your post I decided I was gonna get that sucker out of the hole, no worries about damaging a dead head…
It took some serious effort but I managed to get it out and… taa darr!

what in the name of butt biscuits is this and how in the hell did it get in there?
You may notice that the center hole is not quite round when viewed from the “back side”.

Eye Grey Wood Circle Close-up
Eye Azure Grey Wood Electric blue
Eye Wood Material property Gas Circle



Further more the valve behind it (thanks to heaven it’s still there! ) Is really clean compared to the rest of the intake valves. I am guessing that means it had been in there a while blocking air (and carbon build up?) really hard to get a good picture but trust me it is almost silver while the others are black..

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
If it came by it’s inverted shape natively (and not caused by its stay in the intake side of the engine, it would almost have to be a washer or something that goes in the inside of a pipe somewhere?
I took the throttle body off the intake manifold and it is pristine and has no part like that.

I am totally at a loss on next steps?
 

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If it came by it’s inverted shape natively (and not caused by its stay in the intake side of the engine, it would almost have to be a washer or something that goes in the inside of a pipe somewhere?
I took the throttle body of the intake manifold and it is pristine and has no part like that.

I am totally at a loss on next steps?
I would check the turbo to see if it came from there, but my thought at this time is that someone dropped it into the intake at some point and it finally worked its way to that valve.

If it isn't supposed to be part of whatever holds the turbo together I would start the engine and see what happens. You aren't likely to do more damage than has already been done (if any), and you may have dodged a literal bullet here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Ok. This may turn out to be a BIG problem for folks that have recently acquired aftermarket charge pipes.

I am not making any statement about this until I have had a chance to speak with the vendors involved but for the safety of your vehicle (and possibly your own safety)
I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you run an endoscope up your recently (I have them from two different vendors) acquired pipes.
RIGHT NOW!
Do not turn that motor over until you have double checked your pathways as I am pretty sure the below is not supposed to be what you find:
(Notice the bigger hole past the hanging chad pictured does not have a hanging chad.
Hmmm maybe it went somewhere else?)


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Holy $xxt! I kinda thought that was a grommet of some kind as besides the "stem" being hollow it was "see through". So you had a "hanging Chad" plugging your intake port all this time. Talk about bad finish on the intake pipes. I would be furious if it happened to me (I kinda am even though it happened to someone else).

Someone will have to step up to their grand mistake. I would expect an apology and promise to improve quality going forward, and some kind of $upport for your time and expense so far would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
I am not certain that the piece I found in my motor came from a charge pipe. I actually don’t think it is, yet.

however agent008, you did get me thinking which lead to me yanking it out and then onto running an endoscope up all three versions of charge pipes I own (one being OEM). It appears that both aftermarket pipes have this issue from my initial endoscoping.
I went ahead and was able to get a long bent nose plier at the one in the picture I posted and that one is tiny. Essentially the size of the screw hole for the screws on the maf sensor.

the larger holes are for the nipple and maf sensor itself and in comparing them this piece lodged in the intake seems larger.

here they are side by side:
Eye Grey Wood Circle Button

The little guy on the left is the one i just removed from the inside of the charge pipe.

I think I know what the part that was in the intake is after staring at it for the last hour and wondering where I have seen it before.
I am now 99% sure that it is the metal washer that goes over and into the rubber one that bolts to the sides of the intercooler and the brackets for the OEM charge pipes. I just pulled the one off my charge pipe bracket to compare:


Automotive tire Wood Grey Material property Gas


now I happen to have all of mine ( I just counted them and checked the two bottom ones on the OEM pipes I have boxed up in the garage) and I have never had any extra ones but…

regardless of where mine came from, I have to imagine bad things could happen to a cylinder that sucked in the little guy on the left. Maybe? I don’t know. Maybe it would have spit it out in melted form? Not sure if a little aluminum pellet would disintegrate or not.

I need to pull my “other brand” charge pipe off the car as an initial endoscoping of it looked similar to me. Not yet 100% confirmed.

once I can confirm I will email both vendors and recommend they send out a recall to anyone that bought them recently..

I have no interest in shaming or bad mouthing any vendor, just want you all’s cars to be ok.

I am sure this is a “newly outsourced vendor” issue for (probably) both of them and really if that is the case their primary failure was in not QC’ing the delivered product before shipping.
Not a great look for them but stuff happens and if they make right, that works for me :)
 

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Glad you got it out. Hanging chads are never good. To me it doesn’t seem consistent with what I would expect a slug from the charge pipe to look like. I base that on what I’ll call the raised hat portion, it just shouldn’t be there. To me it most closely resembles a retainer that simply snaps on, but they are typically flat or slightly curved in the other direction. Never seen one used in an automotive application. Think John might be on to something, could have been inadvertently introduced at some point in the past an finally worked it’s way through.
Is it aluminum or steel?
 

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I think you are very fortunate this thing was large enough to get lodged in there and not gone through. Pistons are also aluminium so you can be sure there would be some damage, regardless of how bad it would require a rebuild.

Now that you have demonstrated the size difference between what was plugging your intake and what was "hanging" inside the charge tube, I agree that the tube vendors could not be blamed. They have however still presented poor CQ and that should really be cause for a recall. Congratulations on your tireless drive to investigate this till the problem was found, you might have just saved more than one engine from an expensive repair and a lot of downtime.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Upon further investigation of the intake manifold I think (pure speculation) that this washer was in there for a long time. It is all scratched up inside on all four cylinder paths.
In my imagination it was bouncing around in there like a ping pong ball gradually deforming enough to finally get sucked into a cylinder and only by sheer luck, stopped before it made contact with the valve.

that scenario might explain the intermittent sputtering, and then when I had the episode last week where I was driving and it felt like I had sucked a blueberry into a straw while I was WOT on the freeway followed by persistent sputter and shudder, that was when it finally lodged into a single cylinder as how I found it last night when I pulled the intake manifold.

the only thing that doesn’t fit into my imagined scenario is why is the valve that was behind it is so clean compared to all the other valves in the intake side?

the valve doesn’t look scratched so I don’t “think” the washer was hitting it… don’t know if a washer is strong enough to scratch a valve but you would think it would leave some marks…
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Glad you got it out. Hanging chads are never good. To me it doesn’t seem consistent with what I would expect a slug from the charge pipe to look like. I base that on what I’ll call the raised hat portion, it just shouldn’t be there. To me it most closely resembles a retainer that simply snaps on, but they are typically flat or slightly curved in the other direction. Never seen one used in an automotive application. Think John might be on to something, could have been inadvertently introduced at some point in the past an finally worked it’s way through.
Is it aluminum or steel?
Sorry I missed your question. It feels a tad heavier than aluminum and now that I am sure what it is I would assume steel is the correct answer which I am sure you have surmised as well :)
 
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