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post #1 of 87 (permalink) Old 02-11-2016, 07:39 PM Thread Starter
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94 top end rebuild

I decided to go in and do the heads one more time. Seems they last about 2 years before the gasket blows on the drivers side.

Anyway, any suggestions other than the bolt tightening of the heads to ensure this last longer than it has?

I just ordered all FelPro products for gaskets and bolts so I should be good to go.

Thanks all.

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post #2 of 87 (permalink) Old 02-12-2016, 05:58 AM
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Change the heads to either SC or 96+.

Have you checked how true the block is and assume you take the heads to Machine shop too.

If all else fails get a bigger hammer!

93 SC Tbird
MPII w/ Plenum,90mm MAF, 85mm TB, 40# Injectors, 255 lph FP, Double IC w/fan, SCT Chip (Tuned by Jerry),3/4" Raised Top, F52-TT TC, SilverFox AOD 550, SPT-R VB
96 1/2 XR7 Sold and Salvaged
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post #3 of 87 (permalink) Old 02-12-2016, 08:32 AM
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ARP head studs with Felpro gaskets, and have the heads checked out by a machine shop to make sure they are not warped. If you have been re-using the stock head bolts, that is likely the cause of your repeated head gasket failures. The bolts are torque to yield, which means they are one-time use, and won't hold properly if used again. New bolts at a minimum are required, and at that point, for the few bucks more, you might as well go to the studs, which if you do ever have to re-do them for some reason, are re-usable.

-91 Cougar LS, coming soon, complete overhaul with a 427" Windsor.
-90 XR7 5-speed black on black w/sunroof, MP2, coated rotors, double intercooler, 15%OD, ported heads, comp stage 1 cam, 85mm TB, 90MM LMAF, 80# injectors, and ported big valve heads
-98 Mark VIII LSC, Procharger P600b, TR3650 swap and 3.73s.
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post #4 of 87 (permalink) Old 02-12-2016, 10:51 AM Thread Starter
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Excellent. Thanks guys.

The head bolts are always new ones, can't re-use the old ones. Have a box of head bolts... anyone want em'?

I like the idea of the post 96 heads, that sounds like a good idea. Why take these old heads to a machine shop when I could use a better set of heads? I will see what the yard has to offer. Finding a set of SC heads around here is not very feasible, but then again, the yard may have an SC now.

I plan on starting the rebuild this weekend and finishing next weekend. The gaskets and bolts won't be here till next Thursday so I have some time. If I take some heads in to re-plane them, these ones or others, it will be the following weekend.

I need to wash the engine first before I pull the heads, the drivers side is a mess where it has been leaking. Also, the darn rear main seal has been leaking for years. I was looking at replacing the exhaust as well and was wondering if I need to keep the cats or not. Also, do I need the center muffler or will I get a lot of noise in the cabin in that area? I remember reading about all this, but that was a long time ago.

Thanks again - wish me luck. Wife wants to hang onto this car longer till she finds something she likes.

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1994 Mercoury Cougar XR7 - 150k and still going.

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post #5 of 87 (permalink) Old 02-12-2016, 11:03 AM Thread Starter
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Will the heads from an 88 SC work on my 94?

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post #6 of 87 (permalink) Old 02-12-2016, 11:10 AM
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The first SC was 1989. I'm not sure the details on the SC heads, but the 96+ heads should be a direct swap and presumably easier to locate. Make sure you tell the shop to prep the heads for MLS gaskets so the finish is correct.

1994 Thunderbird - 2000 4.2L M5R2 now has 55k

1995 Thunderbird - 2002 Alum 4.6L SVO - Awaiting transplant... (Parts donor)

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post #7 of 87 (permalink) Old 02-12-2016, 11:42 AM Thread Starter
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MLS?

Oh.. when I was looking at the list of cars at the yard, I saw 88 Tbird turbo... took it for SC. DOH!

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post #8 of 87 (permalink) Old 02-12-2016, 11:58 AM
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MLS are the updated multi-layered steel gaskets. The earlier ones are graphite and are much more prone to failure.

1994 Thunderbird - 2000 4.2L M5R2 now has 55k

1995 Thunderbird - 2002 Alum 4.6L SVO - Awaiting transplant... (Parts donor)

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post #9 of 87 (permalink) Old 02-12-2016, 09:22 PM
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If just doing head gaskets, I would skip the MLS and go with the regular fel-pros. MLS gaskets are more durable, but in order to seal properly, they need both the head and the block deck surface to be machined to a much smoother surface. Unless you are going to completely rebuild the engine, you aren't going to be able to get the block deck resurfaced, and the MLS gaskets will likely always seep some coolant.

-91 Cougar LS, coming soon, complete overhaul with a 427" Windsor.
-90 XR7 5-speed black on black w/sunroof, MP2, coated rotors, double intercooler, 15%OD, ported heads, comp stage 1 cam, 85mm TB, 90MM LMAF, 80# injectors, and ported big valve heads
-98 Mark VIII LSC, Procharger P600b, TR3650 swap and 3.73s.
-90 SC Automatic rustbucket winter beater
-97 Tbird Sport 4.6 Nice weather daily driver
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post #10 of 87 (permalink) Old 02-13-2016, 12:52 AM Thread Starter
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$18 each to have the heads checked, $195 to have them planed, cleaned, pressure tested and seals replaced...etc.

For that price, I could pick up a pair already rebuilt, probably 96 or newer for about the same price... wonder if they have a set that are 96 or newer they would trade for the same price? Hmmm.....

I got the FEL-PRO HS8857PT6 PermaDryŽ; HEAD SET and FEL-PRO ES72131 head bolts. What's great is I picked all of this up for less than $50 when I paid almost twice that 2 years ago.

Thanks all for your input.

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1994 Mercoury Cougar XR7 - 150k and still going.

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post #11 of 87 (permalink) Old 02-13-2016, 12:59 AM Thread Starter
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Can someone suggest a good paint to use on the exhaust manifolds? Last paint I used (high temp engine paint) burned right off and stuck for a while too....

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1994 Mercoury Cougar XR7 - 150k and still going.

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post #12 of 87 (permalink) Old 02-13-2016, 05:19 AM
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Functionally SC and 96+ are the same (are a few minor differences but nothing to get worked up over).

Personally I'd go MLS if the block is flat it has a good enough finish to use them, MLS are commonly used on the SC now.

If all else fails get a bigger hammer!

93 SC Tbird
MPII w/ Plenum,90mm MAF, 85mm TB, 40# Injectors, 255 lph FP, Double IC w/fan, SCT Chip (Tuned by Jerry),3/4" Raised Top, F52-TT TC, SilverFox AOD 550, SPT-R VB
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post #13 of 87 (permalink) Old 02-13-2016, 05:55 AM
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Might want to try hi-temp exhaust paint for the manifolds.

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post #14 of 87 (permalink) Old 02-13-2016, 09:23 AM
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^ +1

Engine paint is usually good up to around 500° F; the exhaust stuff is rated for 2000° F. Don't forget, prep is key.

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post #15 of 87 (permalink) Old 02-13-2016, 11:33 AM Thread Starter
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Yep, prepped the manifolds, but as I watched after each engine run, the paint was literally burning away, not flaking off or anything like a bad prep... but burning off. I used a high heat engine paint, but I think I need something even better. I will look around and see what I can find.

Thanks.

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post #16 of 87 (permalink) Old 02-13-2016, 12:00 PM
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The exhaust paint will hold up to 2000 degrees if it is baked on there first. That means while they are off, you'll need to basically paint them, then put them in the oven. Rustoleum makes an ultra high heat paint designed for barbeque grilles that does not require this pre-baking and is rated for up to 1200 degrees. In theory, that should work, and it is what I used to paint the long-tube headers for the 427 in my 91 Cougar, but as that car is not yet running, I can't say for sure whether it will hold up or not, but I think it would be worth a try.

-91 Cougar LS, coming soon, complete overhaul with a 427" Windsor.
-90 XR7 5-speed black on black w/sunroof, MP2, coated rotors, double intercooler, 15%OD, ported heads, comp stage 1 cam, 85mm TB, 90MM LMAF, 80# injectors, and ported big valve heads
-98 Mark VIII LSC, Procharger P600b, TR3650 swap and 3.73s.
-90 SC Automatic rustbucket winter beater
-97 Tbird Sport 4.6 Nice weather daily driver
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post #17 of 87 (permalink) Old 02-13-2016, 12:56 PM
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Soot in a can is a good way I'd describe Rusto BBQ paint, same look, consistency, feel, and it'll come off on your fingers when you touch it. They may have changed the formula since I used it though(well over 10 years). You really don't need to bake high heat paint in an oven unless you care about how perfect the finish is, installing them on the car, heat cycling them(run for a few minutes, let cool, repeat) will suffice, and is exactly what the cans recommend. This of course is problematic if you're breaking in a fresh engine though

-Matt
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post #18 of 87 (permalink) Old 02-14-2016, 10:19 AM Thread Starter
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Found an interesting article on the 3.8l... little facts about its changes over the years since 1982. I did not know they based the design on the Buick 232 V6.

Rebuilding The Ford 3.8L Engine - Engine Builder Magazine

"Head Gaskets
The holes in head gaskets for the FWD and RWD engines are different because the coolant flow in the heads is revised, depending on the application. Don’t mix them up or the engine will overheat.

These engines tend to blow head gaskets because the gasket is very narrow adjacent to the fire ring on the back cylinders. The problem is aggravated by the coolant that slowly wicks into the edge of the gasket and causes it to deteriorate over time. Rebuilders should use only the head gaskets that have been approved by Ford to help avoid warranty problems."

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post #19 of 87 (permalink) Old 02-14-2016, 01:30 PM Thread Starter
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There are two paints for high heat, one is automotive and the other is general use. I had both in the garage but did not want manifolds to be black and wanted them grey. Well, the grey happened to be the general high heat at 1200 deg where as if I would have used the flat black automotive heat at 2000 deg, it probably would have held up. I suspect using the automotive high heat primer might help the paint to bond better as well.

Got everything off but the heads and exhaust manifolds. Everything looks great... such a shame to have to tear into this again.

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post #20 of 87 (permalink) Old 02-14-2016, 08:02 PM Thread Starter
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Okay guys, here is where I need some HELP!

The book says the following for the head bolts, but I am not sure. IF there is already a document on this proceedure on this board, please direct me to it.

This is what Ford says:
Attached Images
File Type: png head bolts.png (80.1 KB, 2 views)
File Type: png head bolt 1.png (56.6 KB, 62 views)
File Type: png head bolt 2.png (18.9 KB, 62 views)

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post #21 of 87 (permalink) Old 02-15-2016, 12:26 AM Thread Starter
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If I understand the service manual, I put all bolts in the head and tighten each bolt in sequence as shown above to 37 lb-ft.

Starting with bolt #1 (one), i loosen it 2-3 full revolutions (1 rev = 360 deg). I then tighten the #1 bolt (a long bolt) to 11-18 lb-ft. Then I ROTATE the bolt an additional 85-95 deg (1/4 turn).

Then I go to #2, (a short bolt), back off 3 revolutions (360 deg) and tighten #2 to 7-15 lb-ft. Then tighten another 1/4 turn.

Then on to #3, which is a long bolt and I follow the example for #1. Then continue following the original sequence when I tightened the bolts to 37 lb-ft.

Do I need to ensure I hit the 18 lb-ft for long bolts (upper block bolts) and 17 lb-ft for the short bolts (lower block bolts)? Or should I stay at the lower torque end specified?

If I remember correctly, the first initial tightening of 37 lb-ft is to stretch the bolt and compress the gasket between the head and block. The following sequences of long and short bolts is to set the head. According the manual, these bolts should NOT have to be tightener again, but if you are compelled to do it, you can.

I also suspect that it is critical to clean the threads of the block stud holes to ensure the thread is not gunked up and there is residue, dirt or material in the bottom of the stud hole.

What kind of baffles me is what is the difference in the torque specs with it is one lb-ft in the final torque? So why not just tighten all the bolts to say 17 or 18 and be done with it?

Thanks all for helping out with this.

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post #22 of 87 (permalink) Old 02-15-2016, 06:06 AM
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Ford Mustang: Mustang Tech: Engine: 94-98 3.8 torque Specs
This is the procedure that seems familiar to me. You want to use a median torque value in the range--all wrenches have a margin of error. Actually it the last step of 90° that stretches the bolts to yield--and is the most important step, up to that point bolt head friction is involved in the measurement with the last step its a definite torque.

If all else fails get a bigger hammer!

93 SC Tbird
MPII w/ Plenum,90mm MAF, 85mm TB, 40# Injectors, 255 lph FP, Double IC w/fan, SCT Chip (Tuned by Jerry),3/4" Raised Top, F52-TT TC, SilverFox AOD 550, SPT-R VB
96 1/2 XR7 Sold and Salvaged
93 5.0 Tbird
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post #23 of 87 (permalink) Old 02-15-2016, 07:19 AM
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x2 all of that is correct ^^

I ran a tap to chase the threads and cleaned with brake clean followed by air. Make sure the gasket surfaces are clean.

1994 Thunderbird - 2000 4.2L M5R2 now has 55k

1995 Thunderbird - 2002 Alum 4.6L SVO - Awaiting transplant... (Parts donor)

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post #24 of 87 (permalink) Old 02-15-2016, 10:24 AM Thread Starter
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So, if I understand this process correctly, I am to tighten UP TO 37 lb-ft on ALL bolts, then on step 4 is where I back off the bolt 2-3 turns and re-tighten to either 37lb-ft for the long and 18 lb-ft for the short?

OR... am I supposed to work up to 37 ft-lb for the long and 18 ft-lb for the short, loosen and re-tighten?

Seems strange to tighten the short bolts to 37 ft-lb and back off to 18 ft-lb for the final. It would seem to leave them loose.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Head bolt tightening.JPG (34.1 KB, 3 views)
File Type: jpg Notes to head bolt.JPG (18.7 KB, 62 views)
File Type: jpg Pic of sequence.JPG (36.2 KB, 61 views)
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Last edited by white lincoln; 02-15-2016 at 10:56 AM.
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post #25 of 87 (permalink) Old 02-15-2016, 11:02 AM
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You do it exactly as it reads. The extra 90* puts you well past 37ft/lb. Make sure you do that final 90* before you loosen the next bolt in the sequence.

1994 Thunderbird - 2000 4.2L M5R2 now has 55k

1995 Thunderbird - 2002 Alum 4.6L SVO - Awaiting transplant... (Parts donor)

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post #26 of 87 (permalink) Old 02-15-2016, 01:29 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jco1385 View Post
You do it exactly as it reads. The extra 90* puts you well past 37ft/lb. Make sure you do that final 90* before you loosen the next bolt in the sequence.
So tighten the short bolts to 37 lb-ft as well before loosening... hmmmm... just seems odd.

Thank you.

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post #27 of 87 (permalink) Old 02-15-2016, 01:47 PM
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This reads similar to yours, but specifies long and short bolts. You are doing it correctly.
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post #28 of 87 (permalink) Old 02-15-2016, 02:22 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks buddy....

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post #29 of 87 (permalink) Old 02-15-2016, 05:21 PM
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Be careful ...

The 96+ cars have different heads, but they also use different intake manifold gaskets. Their gaskets are made of a rigid plastic carrier with molded rubber sealing rings. These gaskets are thicker than the paper gaskets used on the earlier cars. I believe that the lower intake manifold may be machined slightly differently to accommodate the increased thickness. Also, you will notice that the 96+ intake gaskets have 6 bolt holes per side. The earlier cars use 7 bolts per side. You can use the 96+ heads with your intake manifold and your paper gaskets, but you NEED to drill the heads for the extra bolt hole on each side. If you don't do this, the gaskets will fail in the location of the missing bolt hole, which will cause a massive vacuum leak.

If you don't want to mess with swapping intake manifolds or drilling extra holes in the heads, buy SC heads.

A few other miscellaneous points:
- When I was a teen, I did the head gaskets on my 1989, and they lasted over 100k miles. The car went to my uncle eventually, and I don't remember if the gaskets failed again, or the car was scrapped for other reasons, but the point is the repair should last as long as the original.
- You actually can "cheat" and re-use the head bolts if you want, but you must first check them for how much they have stretched. You can probably get 2 uses out of a set, but you need to manage your risk here. (Depending on which is worth more, the cost of the new ones, or the time to check them and redo the job if your judgment proves to be wrong.)
- I wouldn't remove the center resonator - it will be annoyingly drony. If your wife drives this car, leave that resonator in place.
- Eastwood Factory Gray High-Temp Manifold Coating works well, looks like gray iron, and should last for some years. Best to install it after removing ALL rust. But watch out, if liquid drips onto it from any nearby hoses, it will flake off in those spots.

-------------------

Steve

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post #30 of 87 (permalink) Old 02-15-2016, 06:56 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks S. I already decided to stay with these heads that I have. They are out and I am going to drop them off at the shop to be tested tomorrow. The head gaskets and bolts will be here Thursday or Friday so I should get the engine all back together by this coming weekend.

I will drop some pics of the exhaust manifolds. I do not want to put them back on this way!

Interesting about the resonator. I wondered about that because it is right under the center of the cab and yes, this is the wife's car and I do not think she would appreciate it sounding like crap.

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