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Junior Charter Member AND Lurker
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So far, no one can explain this to me...

I was at the track this weekend(VIR north course) and spun out after turn 7. When the car came to a stop, the engine(351W w/mass flo) was still running but some smoke was slowly starting to come from under the hood. I put the shifter into 1st gear(TKO trans) and the car started backing up...So i put the shifter into 2nd gear and the car started backing up...tried third - same thing. Put the shifter into reverse, the car started to go forward.

The flag man signaled that i was OK to move the vehicle, but by that time a good bit of smoke was coming from underneath the dash(openings in firewall) I figured i would put the trans into "reverse" in order to go forward, so i could limp the car off the track. But the engine sputtered out when i gave it gas. Cranked her up again, but as soon as i gave her gas, she sputtered out again.

Now the weird part!
After getting towed back to the paddock, when we opened the hood, no signs of a source for the smoke could be seen. What looked like some coolant towards the front of the engine that had collected behind a pulley did not appear to be enough to be the reason. I cranked her up, she purred like a kitten - no smoke, no visible leaks of any kind.

Now the REALLY weird part...
I put the shifter into 1st - worked like it should. Tried all other gears + reverse...they all worked fine. Drove the car around the paddock, even backed up a couple of times - it was like nothing had ever happened.

I think i figured out the smoke was coming from the hawk brake pads(i was standing on the brakes due to being on a hill after stopping from the spin) - but i have not verified this assumption.
Though i have not ever heard of this, it is my only conclusion from my current knowledge.

My most important concern is the trans...
Any ideas on the transmission oddity?

thanks for any and all help!
-doc
 

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Charter Member
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The engine is carbed, right? It was running backwards. I have seen this before on an old carbed engine that I had. The smoke was the hot exhaust coming out through the intake passages and carburetor. It won't run for long like that (runs out of gas), but it sure makes you scratch your head.

Dennis B.
 

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Sr FFR builder
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The only thing I can think of is that your motor started to run in reverse when you spun out. That would explain the smoke and the tranny acting arse backwards
 

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Senior Charter Member
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I would agree with the engine running backwards idea but he had to restart the car, so that would mean that the starter was also spinning backwards. Can the EFI system even allow an engine to run backwards?
 

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Junior Charter Member AND Lurker
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Originally posted by NAGA:
Your head was spun around backwards doc! :D
LOL


...Your engine had to have been running backwards.
three similar answers - i guess it must be...but i still am perplexed...so the spin must have reversed the rotation of the tires, reversing the engine? Then did the tow(which was done in neutral) "fix" the engine? or was it just because the engine had some "time" to sit while it was being towed?

Originally posted by Cobradude:

The engine is carbed, right?
-it is a Mass Flo EFI system - should that make a difference?

thanks you guys!
-doc
 

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FFCobra Craftsman
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1,767 Posts
I have heard of this happening with a motorcycle with poor timing but never a car. Wouldnt the engine need to be REALLY hot to ignite right at the top of the stroke for it to start running backwards? A gillion to one chance?
Steve
 

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He said it was still running when he stopped. Unless he was sliding bachward in a forword gear and it reversed the motor???? Very cool.
 

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I observed my old 4-cyl. engine running backwards more than once, always in neutral and usually when I was adjusting the timing. It didn't have to be hot as the spark plugs still worked, although the timing in reverse was not what it should be. The motor would run for 5-10 seconds like that.

Dennis B.
 

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Doc, Cobrafever pegged it I think. During the spin when the car was rolling backwards, the engine was forced to spin backwards and continued to deisel when you put the clutch in. Very bad for the motor because it was running with zero oil pressure. When you started it normally, was there a lot of noise from the valve train? When this happened to my carbed Mustang, the oil pump sucked the oil out of the galleries and caused all the lifters to collapse. No damage, though.

Yours was a good story!

John S
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Originally posted by Cobrafever:
He said it was still running when he stopped. Unless he was sliding bachward in a forword gear and it reversed the motor???? Very cool.
I WAS sliding somewhat backwards as i came to a stop. Could it have been enough to make it reverse the engine?

And did it "die" the first couple of times because there was only exhaust gas/flooded intakes initially? If i had kept cranking the engine it would have "cleared" and began running correctly again?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Originally posted by johns427:
Doc, Cobrafever pegged it I think. During the spin when the car was rolling backwards, the engine was forced to spin backwards and continued to deisel when you put the clutch in. Very bad for the motor because it was running with zero oil pressure. ...
!!my instructor had commented that he thought he noticed the oil press. gauge read zero when we were sitting there "smokin' "...

So then i shouldn't worry about any long term damage from this event?
 

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beginner
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Just a little input: The motor WILL run backwards for a few second(10-20). The oil pump WILL suck the oil back out of the oil passages. Rod bearing WILL spin if they are turned the wrong way with no oil pressure for very long at all. It doesn't take much to sheer the locking tabs off the rod bearings if they are going in reverse. The most you probably did was knock some life off your motor. And Yes if you had kept cranking it with the throttle wide open and got some air back int o the intake, it would have restarted. Just a little knowledge from a ******* that has broken many things.
 

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FFCobra Fanatic
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Have seen a motor run backwards for a few seconds but hard to imagine it ran and had enough power to try and move car while attempting to find a forward gear. Then again can't imagine what in the tranny could possibly do this then correct itself,soo. :eek:
 

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Ya spun it so hard the rear axle flipped over. Once on the tow it had time to unwind and flip back! That would do it but very unlikely!! :D


I'd go with the engine starting in reverse. Only plausible explanation. Maybe we should send it into Myth Busters!
 

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I've heard of 2 stroke engines running backward, even the blown GM 2 stroke Diesel. But I cannot imagine how a 4 stroke can run backwards. Wouldn't it be trying to draw fuel and air in through the exhaust valve? I seem to be missing something.
 

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Fantastic, Doc. Three possible explanations:

1. You interruped the space-time continuum.
2. Your car was temporarily in perpetual motion.
3. A bona fide miracle

My advice is go try and repeat this event. Have leading scientists, astrologists and a high-ranking religious official on hand to determine which of the three really happened. Have a contract ready for movie rights.

Great story, made my day and gives me faith that there is no end to surprises.
 

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Engine ran backwards.

I had an old race engine with a lot of timing that would sometimes backfire and run backwards when first started. Black smoke would pour out of the carb. You, in effect, popped the clutch in reverse when you spun out turning the engine in reverse and allowing it to start running backwards. The reason it kept running is because you have EFI and the injectors kept pumping fuel into the cylinders. Due to the cam overlap, you get enough to run a rough idle, but not enough to accelerate decently.

I agree with commments above on damage. Bearings are the issue and the amount of wear is directly related to how long you let it run. Based on your description, you should be fine, but monitor your oil pressure and listen for knocking.
 

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Junior Charter Member AND Lurker
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Was finally able to speak with the guy who had previously rebuilt my engine( i was a little scared to at first ;) )
He agreed - no long term damage...
Gives new meaning to "Ford Tough!"

Thanks all for the input - and i am thankful for this forum...i hope to be able to return the favor one day
-doc
 

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One of the first things your instructor should have told you was "when in a spin both feet in"
brake and clutch that is.
 
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