Timing Cover gasket replacement -- HELP!!!! - TCCoA Forums
 
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-31-2007, 11:17 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Timing Cover gasket replacement -- HELP!!!!

My son has a 90 'Bird with the 3.8 EFI (not CFI like my 86). It was leaking coolant very badly between the block and the timing cover. We've got the gaskets, and I'm down to pulling the timing cover. I THINK I have all the bolts out, but it doesn't seem to want to budge. Are the dowels that long that it has to be pryed off? It has the cast aluminum oil pan, and I can't see where any bolts go through the edge of the pan and into the TC. Am I missing something here?

There were three studs through the cover into the block. I managed to get those out without breaking them. I've got the Haynes manual on this thing, but it's all but useless. It doesn't have any illustrations showing this timing cover. In fact most of the photos in the pertinent sections are identical to the photos in the manual for my '86 with the CFI engine. I've done the TC gaskets on that, and it wasn't nearly as difficult as getting the cover off this thing. I'm trying to get it done this weekend, and like I said, I've got all of it off that I know to pull off.

Does the oil pickup attach to the TC, or to the block like my '86? Do I HAVE to pull the oil pan for this job? If I do, I'm screwed 'cause I don't have any way to lift that engine high enough to get the pan out. It looks to me like that engine's gotta come out to get the pan out.

He picked this old bird up for $1000. Anything running nowadays is worth $1000. I just gotta get the coolant leaks stopped though. He's going though a gallon of coolant about every 3 days, and looks like most of it's pouring off the front of the block. Amazing what a rusty coolant system will show you.

1970 VW Beetle Baja
1986 Thunderbird 3.8L, EEC-IV, OBD-I
1992 F-150 5.0L, M5OD, 3.08 dif, EEC-IV OBD-I
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-01-2007, 12:56 AM
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There are 2 bolts that hold the pan to the timing cover and also 2 hard to see bolts on the front lower corners. Then you have to finesse the cover off. While you have it off you should replace the Timing chain, gears and damper guide.

I have a picture of a 3.8 out of a car. If I find it I'll highlight what I mean and post it.

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-01-2007, 01:14 AM
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i had this same problem. this thread should help you a lot.

http://forums.tccoa.com/showthread.p...t=water+behind

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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-01-2007, 06:31 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ClintD View Post
There are 2 bolts that hold the pan to the timing cover and also 2 hard to see bolts on the front lower corners. Then you have to finesse the cover off. While you have it off you should replace the Timing chain, gears and damper guide.

I have a picture of a 3.8 out of a car. If I find it I'll highlight what I mean and post it.
That would be fantastic. As far as two through the lip of the pan, umm, I found a couple threaded bosses on the edge of the pan under the edge of the t/c, but I don't find any bolts in there. Are they like socket head screws or what? Like I said, this one has the cast aluminum pan, not the stamped steel one. The oil filter points in the opposite direction from the one on my 86. There was a hidden torx bolt on mine, but I don't find that on this one. I'm scared I'll break something if I pry on it any harder. I got it to separate about 1/16 inch at the top, but it stopped and so did I before I broke something.

I was definitely going to check the chain and gears. It's got a lotta miles on it, but my son has a very limited income. His birthday's this month, so he may be getting an early b'day present if I gotta buy those for him.

I really don't want to have to pull this engine, but I'm at the point of no return now. I gotta get the gasket set installed now.

1970 VW Beetle Baja
1986 Thunderbird 3.8L, EEC-IV, OBD-I
1992 F-150 5.0L, M5OD, 3.08 dif, EEC-IV OBD-I

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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-01-2007, 07:14 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jco1385 View Post
i had this same problem. this thread should help you a lot.

http://forums.tccoa.com/showthread.p...t=water+behind
Hmm, I don't see any bolts coming up from the pan in the photo that's in that thread. That's exactly the engine I'm working on. 3.8 EFI Speed Density, but 90 model vs 86 model. The 86 did have 2 bolts through the lip of the pan into the cover, but I don't find that on this one. If I remember correctly, it seems there were 4 bolts with 10 mm heads, about 1.5 inches long, the three studs (two passenger, one driver) and one just above the oil pump that was about 5 inches long with 10mm head. I've looked with feelavision very carefully behind the filter and around the OP to make sure that I haven't missed something like the one Torx bolt in the 86 cover. I left the oil filter on thinking it would come off with the pump and t/c, and just save myself some dripping mess. I'll yank it off this morning and go ahead and drain the oil too. I was gonna change oil in it anyway.

On the 86, once I got all the bolts out, the cam thrust spring just pushed the cover off. That was easy. This one's a lot rustier than my 86 was so maybe just the rust on the dowels. Dunno. Is there a recess in the backside of the cover for the cam thrust spring button, and if so, how much trouble is it realigning it when putting the cover back? There was no recess on the backside of the cover on my 86.

Looks like the WP has been replaced on the 90 at least once. The gasket came right off, almost in one piece. Looks like a WP replacement is a sure bet to start a TC leak on these 3.8's. That's what started it on my 86, and probably what started it on my son's 90.

That bracket for the AC and PS pump is a real PITA. Fortunately the bottom bolt is actually a stud and accessible with a socket from the bottom.

I guess I'll try to figure out a way to wedge it off there without scoring the sealing surfaces. Maybe some hardwood wedges or something to keep some force on it while I tap it with the dead-blow mallet.

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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-01-2007, 09:02 AM
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look in the Oil pump area really good. mine did have the hidden torx, but mine is a 97. also there were no bolts in the oil pan to the cover.

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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-01-2007, 09:16 AM Thread Starter
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look in the Oil pump area really good. mine did have the hidden torx, but mine is a 97. also there were no bolts in the oil pan to the cover.
Yeah, my 86 had that bolt too, but I knew about it before I started. My guess is it'll be on the 90 since its gotta have something to keep the oil pump sealed up in that area, and the fact your 97 has it too.

I'll yank the filter and drain the oil this morning before doing anything else, and see if I can find it.

I used Permatex HyTak to install the gaskets on my 86. I painted the gaskets with it completely to seal them and prevent coolant from soaking into the gasket. The RTV is good along the pan, but I just don't trust it on the flat surfaces that have no clearance. I've rebuilt too many pumps using RTV just to have to go back and seal 'em up again with something that stays soft and sticky. The Permatex HyTak does just that. You'll note that I also own a VW. The block halves have a vertical split, and are notorious for leaking. (They don't actually leak, they mark their territory) HyTak was the solution for that. So far, nary a leak on the 86 after struggling with leaks for nearly 10 years, including leaks AFTER a dealership installed a long block for me two years ago. I haven't put any coolant in it in over 6 months. I did the t/c on it last Xmas.

Hmm, I just looked at your profile. I see you're down in Mobile. I'm right up the road in Helena, AL Wanna come join the fun?

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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-01-2007, 09:27 AM
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haha, oh how i would love to! but i am going to the yard today. haha "right up the road"... ha, thats like 4 hours! my gaskets were metal. and i used no.2 permatex. i use that on all gaskets. i also used blue silicon on the bolts that go beside the water passages in the cover.

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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-01-2007, 09:40 AM Thread Starter
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haha, oh how i would love to! but i am going to the yard today. haha "right up the road"... ha, thats like 4 hours! my gaskets were metal. and i used no.2 permatex. i use that on all gaskets. i also used blue silicon on the bolts that go beside the water passages in the cover.
I guess it's all a matter of perspective. I could have been in Huntsville, then it's only 6 hours. I've done the round trip to Mobile twice in one day (lucky me).

Ennyhoo, guess it's about time to get started on this thing again. Hopefully I didn't crack the cover monkeying around with it last night.

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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-01-2007, 10:31 AM
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have fun! good luck man

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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-01-2007, 03:25 PM Thread Starter
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Update

Ok, going back in with it now. But one little problem. Real small, I think.

I forgot whether the stud without the 15 MM shoulder goes in the bottom hole or top hole on the 456 side. Any takers? Or does it matter? Silly me, I didn't take photos when I was removing the stud.

Waiting a few for response, then gonna take a shot at it and see if things pull up tight. Looks like there's no connection to the water jacket on the 456 side, only on the 123 side.

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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-01-2007, 10:43 PM Thread Starter
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Update again

Got the 90 back together sans fluids. Gave out, but didn't give up. Gonna flush it a couple times tomorrow and get some of the rust outta the block before I put the fresh coolant in. Gotta set the timing anyway, so may as well use the first warm-up to do that.

Ennyhoo, thanks to all for the help. If I got the stud and the long bolt in the wrong holes on the left side, it doesn't seem to care. Everything pulled up nicely. Heck, I didn't even have any bolts left over.

One piece of advice, when removing the alt/ps bracket, take the alternator off. Only two bolts and two plugs, but a ton of weight off the PS hoses when you let it hang down.

The only 'problem' I noticed was when putting the cover back on, it pushed all the RTV back toward the inside of the pan. I hope it doesn't decide to leak. Gonna be a real PITA to stop it short of pulling that cover again. I think it was because I put the studs in before I put the cover on, but wanted to make sure I sealed them up good.

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1992 F-150 5.0L, M5OD, 3.08 dif, EEC-IV OBD-I
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-02-2007, 03:12 PM Thread Starter
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Final Update

Fluids in, leak checked, and no dripping. WOOHOO!

The small hose on the bottom of the reservoir was leaking, but a little snip job and a new clamp fixed that right up. Put in a new temp sensor (not ECT) and the gauge appears to be working now.

Now on to bigger fish to fry.

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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-04-2007, 09:25 AM
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good deal

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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-04-2007, 08:38 AM
 
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Sounds like quite the project!
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post #16 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-04-2007, 08:20 PM Thread Starter
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Sounds like quite the project!
Having been there/done that twice on the 3.8, not too bad really. Did both on a weekend each with time to spare. Did the pull-apart on Friday evenings, clean-up and reassembly on Saturday. Ran leak checks on Sunday warming and cooling the car all day. Long day on Saturday, but all the parts were back on before I went to bed, and cleaned.

Dunno which I preferred, the 90 or 96 3.8. I like the steel oil pan on my 86 (don't ask me why), but like the timing chain and cam setup on the 90 a lot better. On my '86, there is a spring and thrust button in the center of the cam gear that rides against the back of the timing cover. No such thing on the '90 (I'm assuming a cam with actual thrust collars?) On my 86, if the chain/gears start to wear, you just put up with slop in the timing and loping idle until you can replace. On the '90, there's the nifty little tensioner on the chain, that will run constant timing no matter how much wear. It might get a fraction of a degree out, but nothing you'll ever be able to see with a timing light. I definitely like the EFI intake of the 90 over the CFI on my '86. Makes a huge difference in the performance of these engines. I can only imagine and dream of the SC 3.8 performance.

Some things were easier to remove on my '86 than on the 90, and certainly vice versa. Kind of a wash there, really. Overall, the job was perhaps just a little easier on the 90, but I knew where I was going with it when I started, having done the '86 before. The hidden bolt by the OP threw me off a little on Friday night, but found it Saturday morning. It's just a little less visible because of the oil filter flange on the later model.

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post #17 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-04-2007, 09:01 PM
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it's very intimidating for sure. glad it worked out for ya. so what was holding the cover that you couldnt find?

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post #18 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-08-2007, 12:52 PM Thread Starter
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it's very intimidating for sure. glad it worked out for ya. so what was holding the cover that you couldnt find?
It was the famous hidden bolt below the Oil Pump. The one and only Allen head in the bunch. I just couldn't see it because I was trying to pull the cover with the filter still on to avoid making a big mess in my garage. The filter on the 90 is turned backward from the one on my '86, and completely covers the bolt. Can't see it if you don't take the filter off.

I found it interesting there were NO bolts through the pan into the cover like my old '86 with a steel pan. But, whatever works. Got it all sealed up except v/c gaskets. I can't seem to get my schedule coordinated with my son's to get those done. I think they're leaking pretty bad, or at least bad enough for oil to get on the manifolds and stink. It's not losing any coolant now, at least.

Not sure, but it may have a drooling rear main too. Hard to tell with the v/c's leaking. I've done the rear main on my 5.0 in my truck with M5OD tranny. That wasn't really all that difficult other than getting the rear cross member out. That truck had enough bolts in it to put a skyscraper together, and EVERY stinkin one had a vibration proof nut on it. Dunno what it's like yanking one of these AOD's out. Hard to tell right now if I need to with the leaking v/c's. I don't think the AOD will be much worse to pull than the M5OD was, other than the vulnerable pan on the bottom. I think I can handle that problem with my tranny jack, tho.

I also put the bronze bushing mod kit in the kick-down cable on the throttle lever. WOW, what a difference in that car. No more hard shifting and bogging down on hills. I was worried that after I put it in that I'd find out it had a destroyed AOD because of the horror stories I've read. I have no idea how long it's been broken nor how much the car's been driven with it broken. I'd love to find an AOD to put behind my 3.8 in my Fox, as well as the top end for multiport injection. That would really bring that engine to life. I keep reading about the anemic 3.8's. His has the 3.8 with speed-density multiport injection instead of the CFI like mine. My CFI is a gutless wonder, but his is anything but. That MFI 3.8 will smoke the rear tires. I don't think the MN12 is quite as heavy as my Fox, tho. Best I can tell, his is still very sound mechanically. Mine should be as well. It's had a long block replacement and only has about 40K on it. I can't imagine having the 3.8 SC.

I've also done the hinges on the ds door. It was pretty badly worn, so I don't know how long the new bushings are going to hold up. The door was drooping nearly an inch at the back edge. Someone had moved the top hinge and shimmed the heck outta the bottom hinge. Took a little while to get it realigned, but the new latch bolt with the roller on it helped. Kinda weird that a 90's door was in so much worse shape than my 86. The 86 has NEVER had anything done to the door hinge, and still hangs true. No slop in it whatsoever. Dunno, but just judging from the condition of the 90, it looks like it's spent some time in salt. Not enough to destroy the body or frame, but enough to attack the hinges, etc where there's no rust protection. PS door was OK, though, as I expected. Most of us with 'Birds sorta spend a lotta time in 'em by ourselves, and the passenger door seldom gets used.

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