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Anybody ever try to fix cavitation holes in sleeves?

wlhequipment

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Sep 3, 2017
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489
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Sheridan, CO
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Hi folks,
I've worked on 4 or 5 of these old 300/400 series mechanical Deeres over the years and every one of em has failed for the same reason; the user put the wrong coolant in, and the cylinder liners cavitated. For the record, it's not a design flaw of the machine. I'm quite fond of these. I'd say it's more of a design flaw of the operator. In any case, I've been working on this 401C on and off for a few months, and I finally got it running and in the shop. This, like every other, had a pinhole in a liner. If not for that one tiny hole in that one liner, I wouldn't have torn into the engine, but that's where we are. The other 3 are showing cavitation "divots", but haven't worn through yet. Just the one. All holes / divots are down low on the sleeve, below compression rings. That's why the engine actually ran fine.

If this were a customer machine, I'd be pressed for time and would just inframe the thing, and get it out the door. But this machine is mine, and I'm in no rush, so I'm in the mood to experiment.

I'm wondering if I can repair these by brazing. Grind them down / clean em up a little, fill it in and turn it back down on the lathe. I wonder if it will work. Has anyone tried this? If the holes were above the rings, I don't think it would work. Or, if the sleeves were shagged, I wouldn't bother. The one hole is right where the top (square) oring would seat. So I'd have to fill it in, turn it down to the OD it was above that "shelf", and re-cut that "shelf" where the square ring seats.

I think I can be done. What do you think?
 

IceHole

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2023
Messages
745
Location
AK
You'd need to hone them as well.

I'd be concerned that engine heat would cause the brazed area to move differently and make a tight spot.

A full kit for a 219 (3.6L)??? (I think... been a few years) was fairly cheap, like $700... well, pre Fauci virus.

Curious... what's the correct antifreeze?
I've been slowly switching my stuff over to Chevron ELC. It's pretty much all the shops use at work, sell probably 10k gallons a year.

The old school green antifreeze has been mostly considered obsolete at this point as it's 60+ yr old technology.

But I'm no expert. Figure if it's good for million dollar dozers, loaders, drill equipment, trucks, etc it's good for my fleet of rag tag stuff.
And I get it for under $10 a gallon.
 
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wlhequipment

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Sheridan, CO
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Mechanic
It's called SCA additive. I think SCA actually stands for "Supplemental Coolant Additive". I have no idea what it is, chemically, but that's what you need for wet sleeve engines. I call it the pink stuff. A 4.219 kit is around a grand, so we're not talking big bucks. Why would you think it needs a hone? Maybe it'll be out of round when I'm done? I don't think brazing gets it hot enough. I bet a weld would. Brazing is used to fix cast iron in lots of places, so I believe the expansion rate is similar to cast. I don't know though, good thoughts. The repair area would be so small, I don't see it making a big difference. Of course, you don't need a big difference when we're talking cylinders and pistons :)
 

IceHole

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Aug 14, 2023
Messages
745
Location
AK
It's called SCA additive. I think SCA actually stands for "Supplemental Coolant Additive". I have no idea what it is, chemically, but that's what you need for wet sleeve engines. I call it the pink stuff. A 4.219 kit is around a grand, so we're not talking big bucks. Why would you think it needs a hone? Maybe it'll be out of round when I'm done? I don't think brazing gets it hot enough. I bet a weld would. Brazing is used to fix cast iron in lots of places, so I believe the expansion rate is similar to cast. I don't know though, good thoughts. The repair area would be so small, I don't see it making a big difference. Of course, you don't need a big difference when we're talking cylinders and pistons :)
SCA is for old fashioned green antifreeze which is hard to even find these days. The additive packag was only good for 2-3 years and the SCA extended that.

It's not needed with ELC, which is good for ~7-10 years. I think they have a version available that CAT has? but at 10 years, it's well due a drain anyhow!

Hone because it would change the liner size. Generally tight tolerance, like 0.01-0.02 area.

For the amount of work, and possibly later rework, not worth it to me. But I know guys that will spend days of labor to "save" $100

"Must be nice to be rich" as my Dad would say. No... but I've got better **** to do... or go to work and earn that by first coffeffe break.
 
Last edited:

wlhequipment

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SCA is for old fashioned green antifreeze which is hard to even find these days. The additive packag was only good for 2-3 years and the SCA extended that.

It's not needed with ELC, which is good for ~7-10 years. I think they have a version available that CAT has? but at 10 years, it's well due a drain anyhow!

Hone because it would change the liner size. Generally tight tolerance, like 0.01-0.02 area.

For the amount of work, and possibly later rework, not worth it to me. But I know guys that will spend days of labor to "save" $100

"Must be nice to be rich" as my Dad would say. No... but I've got better **** to do... or go to work and earn that by first coffeffe break.
You got a solid point there. In the time I have messed with it already this morning, I coulda gone out, done a job, and made the $ to buy the parts. Yeah this is dumb.
 

Nige

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G..G..G..Granville.........!! Fetch your cloth.
Why would you want to bodge existing liners that you would have to remove then reinstall again after "repair" plus all the associated work of disassembly/reassembly of the engine to get to that point when instead you could simply fit new liners, reassemble the engine, put some decent quality coolant in it, and forget all about it.?
 

HarleyHappy

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So NH
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Have you ever tried to build up a shaft by brazing it.
I have and when trying to turn it down on the lathe, the brass always leaves an edge.
You can hone or use a scotch brite to hid the edge but it’s always there.
Usuall not that critical on a shaft but would never attempt on a sleeve, especially when you can buy a sleeve set for under a grand.
 

Old Growth

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PNW
You got a solid point there. In the time I have messed with it already this morning, I coulda gone out, done a job, and made the $ to buy the parts. Yeah this is dumb.
It sucks to grow up "broke", then later on, make a decent living, but still consider spending precious time to save a "buck".

Its tough to get out of that mentality. Time IS money.

But back "then" ya had time and NO money! Lol!
 

wlhequipment

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Why would you want to bodge existing liners that you would have to remove then reinstall again after "repair" plus all the associated work of disassembly/reassembly of the engine to get to that point when instead you could simply fit new liners, reassemble the engine, put some decent quality coolant in it, and forget all about it.?
Because I'm a glutton for punishment. You should know that by now :)
 

wlhequipment

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It sucks to grow up "broke", then later on, make a decent living, but still consider spending precious time to save a "buck".

Its tough to get out of that mentality. Time IS money.

But back "then" ya had time and NO money! Lol!
I know, right? Growing up broke is what made me a mechanic in the first place!
 

stinky64

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java center ny
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big truck wrench/fixer of things
It sucks to grow up "broke", then later on, make a decent living, but still consider spending precious time to save a "buck".

Its tough to get out of that mentality. Time IS money.

But back "then" ya had time and NO money! Lol!
I also grew up 'broke" and go out of my way to fix stuff that would normally be trashed just because, think it's the challenge. One thing I don't cheap out on is parts for something actually doing a rebuild on. If it's fooked, replace it, especially if available.
 

kshansen

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If this was an engine that new liners were unobtainable and you were looking to have it so you could run it around the field at an antique equipment show I would say clean them up real good and fill the pinholes and pits with a good epoxy. That would probably seal them up for a long time with limited running.

But if this is a machine you will be working hard even if only for a couple projects a month go with new and take care of the coolant and forget it ever happened as long as you have the machine!
 

OzDozer

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I don't know why you'd even consider such a miserly repair. It will come back and bite you if you try it, you'll be pulling the engine apart again.

You must be a sucker for punishment - doing a gyppo repair, then pull it down again when that fails, so you can do it again properly.

I hate spending money on repairing engines once, properly - let alone doing them twice, because the first effort was an el-cheapo experiment that failed.
 

56wrench

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Well, on some engines, liner cavitation is somewhat of a design flaw. Especially the JD 619 and any other engine with 4 corner pitting where the water jacket is thin. For example where there is not much clearance between the liner and the internal head bolt boss area. Manufacturers did this to keep the block lighter and to keep the engine from being physically larger. Cavitation usually occurs more where the coolant around the liner is thinnest. Cavitation on some engines occurs at the lower sealing area because the liner ‘moves’ due to only being held firm at the bottom end by the o-rings. SCA’s and ELC can help prevent cavitation but under heavy load for trillions of power strokes, given enough operating hours, it will likely reoccur but by then the rings will likely be worn out. Some manufacturers updated the fit of the liners in an attempt to keep them held more firmly to help prevent liner vibration (for lack of a better word) which usually helped. Usually on the Deere blocks with the o-ring grooves in the block, they will need some repair due to cavitation. I wouldn’t braze or weld on a liner. If it breaks while running, you will regret it. For the price of the new liners put in new ones and don’t worry about it. Just my 2 cents
 

wlhequipment

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I got $20 that says WLH is a hoarder LOL!

I have to say, out of the 100's of liners I've pulled that were pitted................It never crossed my mind one time to fill in those pin holes, not once.
Busted! Let's just say it's a good thing my shop is tiny :)
 

wlhequipment

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Sep 3, 2017
Messages
489
Location
Sheridan, CO
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Mechanic
Well, on some engines, liner cavitation is somewhat of a design flaw. Especially the JD 619 and any other engine with 4 corner pitting where the water jacket is thin. For example where there is not much clearance between the liner and the internal head bolt boss area. Manufacturers did this to keep the block lighter and to keep the engine from being physically larger. Cavitation usually occurs more where the coolant around the liner is thinnest. Cavitation on some engines occurs at the lower sealing area because the liner ‘moves’ due to only being held firm at the bottom end by the o-rings. SCA’s and ELC can help prevent cavitation but under heavy load for trillions of power strokes, given enough operating hours, it will likely reoccur but by then the rings will likely be worn out. Some manufacturers updated the fit of the liners in an attempt to keep them held more firmly to help prevent liner vibration (for lack of a better word) which usually helped. Usually on the Deere blocks with the o-ring grooves in the block, they will need some repair due to cavitation. I wouldn’t braze or weld on a liner. If it breaks while running, you will regret it. For the price of the new liners put in new ones and don’t worry about it. Just my 2 cents
This is exactly what I was wondering this morning. I have a similar chat going on a yesterday's tractors forum, and one guy mentioned that the pitting is always in the same spot on these sleeves, and I recognized he was right, and never wondered why until now. I suggested one of the reasons might be more movement of the sleeve at the bottom vs the top because the bottom was just sitting in a couple o-rings and the top is more securely clamped by the head. I'd never seen pitting more than about 1/2 way up these sleeves; it's always way down toward the bottom.
 

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