HeadGasket Replacement? - TCCoA Forums
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-29-2004, 07:30 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 138
HeadGasket Replacement?

On a scale of one to ten, honestly, how difficult would it be for an individual like myself, who has a basic knowledge of automobiles, and hopefully the right tools, to perform a head gasket replacement? I,ve got a 3.8 N/A. Thanks guys.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-29-2004, 09:54 PM
Join Date: Aug 2002
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i've heard it's super easy. next time mine blows i'm gonna do it myself and find out. make sure you send heads to machine shop to make sure they're not warped.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-30-2004, 10:56 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 138
thanks. Yeah i will definately send the heads to the shop, when the HG blows, i've been fortunate enough for that not to happen yet, but i'm just waiting any day now for them to go b/c i'm showin all symptoms for worn out head gaskets.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-21-2004, 01:20 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: SW VA
Posts: 75
Ah if you haven't done this before, you will almost experience an almost
zen-like state of fustration. It's not a really hard job, it's just tedious
and the work area is very limited (at least I think so, but then again I
learned to turn wrenches on the late 60's land yachts). Ah the knuckles you
will skin, the works you will utter, and the memories you will have.

When mine went the first time at 92k miles, I didn't recognize the symptoms
ans ended up with an etched block. Trash one engine. It was replaced with a
crate engine and two years and 55k miles later, I started having coolant
spew out of the overflow tank. This time I recognized the problem and
promptly replaced the gaskets (don't forget to use new head bolts because
they are torque-to-yeild). About 50k miles later they blew again. This time
I did some research and discovered that (at that time) Felpro had just come
out with a thicker, multi-layered gasket set specifically designed to cure
the problem of the cast iron block and aluminum heads. It's been about 130k
miles since I've replaced the head gaskets and I haven't had any problems
since. Long story, but make sure you get the proper head gaskets and don't
forget to install them with the correct side up!

If you have done this before, plan on about 4 to 6 hours, not counting the
machine shop time. If this your first time I would tear it down one evening
so you can drop the heads off at a machine shop the next day ( it will
probably take them a day to do them). That way when you pick the heads up
you in the morning after they are done, you will have the whole day to
reassemble the engine.

On the heads, it's VITAL that the sealing surfaces are perfectly straight
and true. Do not except the standard tolerances! If you have more than
0.004" variance (+/- 0.002") at any point, make them redo it or you WILL
have problems. Also let them know when you drop them off of the tolerances
that you must have. It will cost a little more because of the time
involved, but it's better than having to redo the gaskets. BTDT

IIRC, the only specilized tool you will need is a torque wrench that has a
degree wheel on it.

1988 Cougar 3.8
1995 40th Anniversary Edition 4.6
Wingnutt is offline  
post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-22-2004, 12:52 AM
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: SouthEastern PA
Posts: 1,112
I did that job, and it wasn't too bad, but I do want to point out my 3 problem areas:

1. The exhaust manifold bolts, down by the catalytic converters. They were totally rusted, and they rounded off with little effort. I had to hacksaw through one stud and drill out the remains so I could replace it with a bolt. The repair stalled for months because of this and the cold weather.

2. The head bolts themselves. They were SO seized in my engine. I needed about a 4 foot breaker bar. I broke more than one socket and extension on this job. (Craftsman warranty )

3. Reconnecting everything. The EGR tube snapped in two (it was brittle), so I had to get a new one. And I got innumerable cuts and scrapes trying to get all the little wiring harnesses, hoses, etc. reconnected.

I used a Haynes manual, which tends to over-simplify things, but has lots of useful info too.

If you work patiently and stay on the lookout for surprises, I think you will do fine!



Owner, 1990 Thunderbird SC, white w/ gray cloth
S_Mazza is offline  
post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-22-2004, 03:32 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 73
Be lucky that you have a reg 3.8 N/A. Im doing a HG job on my 94 Sc that I just bought and it is a B****. Everything is CRAMMED in there. It took me 45mins to get the EGR bolts out! I already got the whole supercharger assembly off so now it should be alittle easier to take apart.
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