what is the best 3.8 head gasket to use? - TCCoA Forums
 
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-27-2005, 12:59 PM Thread Starter
 
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Unhappy what is the best 3.8 head gasket to use?

Hey guys,
my headgasket/s are gone on my 90 thunderbird LX, they just went at 75k. I was lucky to notice before the engine ever got overheated. (I just bought the car a few months ago. I backflushed and bled the cooling system, replaced the water pump, new serpentine belt and pulleys, and replaced the t-stat and changed to oil and used syn/blend 10w30 with a motorcraft filter and changed all the fluids/filters and did a full tune-up. Then engine purred like a kitten!!!!) There is no water in the oil, but the coolant was overflowing out of the radiator (with the cap off, and the engine cooled down) and white smoke bellowing out if the tail pipe. I am going to replace them myself, and I want to get a set of gaskets that will last longer than 75k, I don't want to have to do this again if all possible!!

What are the options I have that are better than the stock gaskets? I am thinking about buying the felpro gaskets, but i have also heard that there are "better" ones that are used on '99 and up 3.8 engines that will work? What do I ask for when I go to Autozone or whatever, to get the 'best' headgaskets possible? thanks!!!!

btw I seached the forum but didn't get a strait answer that I wanted. I just got things like "I heard that a 99+ gasket will work", or: "Ford makes a better one, but the felpro one works too". I want an answer from someone that has done this before, and knows thatt the felpro is infact better then the sucky ones i have now from ford, or what ever other options I have besidess that.

Thank you very much !!!!

p.s. I have a datsun 240z and i raced that engine and abused it for 4 years, everyday, and put over 50k miles on it, it has a strait six and aluminum head with an iron block, and the head gasked is just fine! then I get this FORD and maintain and take care of it maticulously, WTF!??? he, he
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-27-2005, 03:16 PM
 
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felpro is the best imo for the money and all

its like 100 for the whole kit...


and yeah if i wouldnt know these cars any better id say they come stock from the factory blown


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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-28-2005, 12:03 AM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks guy,

I bought the felpro head set. The set looks good, and it even comes with valve stem seals( should I replace those, or leave the stock ones?) The gasket looks like it has a piece or renforcement between the water jacket and the cylinder seals. the thing that bothers me is that there is only 6 bolts that hold it down! there should be 2 more!!!!

anyways, I started to remove intake manifold and wiring. I did break one of the really long, front bolts on the upper intake manifold! I need to figure out a way to get it out! it seems like the guy who was installing it at the factory impacted that sucker down really good and cross-threaded it!!! any suggestions? luckily the threads are protruding still. It is stuck really hard and I aready used lots of penitrating oil on all the bolts, but this one is a not going anywhere!!!!

if there are any valuable tips you can give me I would appriciate it. this is my first time replacing a head gasket, and I can always learn something new and useful.

Thanks again!!!!
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-28-2005, 12:10 AM
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Are the 3.8's notorious for blowing head gaskets? Seems like everytime I log on someone new has blown their sh*t. It's starting to worry me.

Last edited by The Stevinator; 03-29-2005 at 06:46 PM.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-28-2005, 01:03 AM
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first off, whats with that advertisement in your post Stevinator?

But on to the main subject, Yes, fel-pro is the best out there. They have a new line of Permatorque gaskets now that are even better than the usual ones they include in their kits, and they're made in a multi-layer design for better clamping and sealing, a very very nice design. But those shouldnt be necessary for your application. Make sure you have the updated fel-pro headgasket kit though. It should have two little S shaped gaskets in there made of metal and rubber with little rubber ends and little metal clips sticking out. And the lower intake gaskets should be part rubber, not completely paper. If its not the updated kit, I'd return it and see if they'll order the updated one. You might as well get the best out of your dollar. Ford's gaskets are more expensive but I will let you in on a little secret...they are fel-pro gaskets with the ford name and marked up price. So buy fel-pro's from an auto store. Same thing, cheaper price. The supercoupe gaskets or the 99+ gaskets will work, the coolant passages won't line up exactly because on the sc's and 99+ v6's the passages are set farther out from the cylinder edge, which made the block and heads stronger. You can use them, not really worth it though. The 4.2 Ford gaskets are just like fel-pro's multi-layer permatorque's but require a smoother fiish on the heads and block than the fel-pro's do.

for your broken bolt situation, have you ever tried PB B'laster?

http://precisionreloading.com/blaster.htm

It's amazing stuff. Breaks bolts loose like nothing I've ever seen before. If you just take a mini propane torch and heat up the area around the bolt to expand the aluminum, then spray some of that stuff on there it will contract the metal from cooling it off, and thusly actually pull the lubricant into the threads. Then I'd get some kind of vise grips or something on that bolt and twist REALLY hard. Another option would be to do the heating and PB B'laster thing like I meantioned, but first cut a slot into the protruding piece of bolt with a die grinder or dremel tool, then buy a hand impact tool. Put a standard screwdriver attachment on the impact tool, then hammer on it after blasting it. When you hit the impact tool with a hammer it twists while applying force. Cool tool. One of the best tools I've ever purchased.

Hope this helps.

-Thomas

1988 Notch Mustang: - 438W, direct port n2o, t56
2003 SVT Focus: - SCT X3 tuner
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-28-2005, 01:36 AM
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You can also look into cometic gaskets. But those are $$$.


Edit: Didn't read Thomas' full post.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-28-2005, 01:38 AM
 
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Quote:
if there are any valuable tips you can give me I would appriciate it. this is my first time replacing a head gasket, and I can always learn something new and useful.
not too many valuable tips other than...

use the torque angle method... when tightening important bolts...(head bolts) etc

and definatly get your heads decked, no matter if you got them heated bad or not...

its like 35 each...not too bad...

umm... the best thing to do BEFORE YOU GET STARTED is get some ABC tags... from and auto parts store,

everytime you undo a plug put the sticker "a" on the male plug and the other "a" on the female...then go to B do that with all your wiring... because before you know it your wiring harness will be laying on the ground beside your car, with no markings and that will be *****ty to re-install

other than that just ask for help when you need it

also, how much did you pay for your 90" im selling one...just curious

thanks

Last edited by rolledthatho; 03-28-2005 at 01:44 AM.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-28-2005, 08:32 AM
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If you label the wires, just use tape.

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 #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-28-2005, 10:02 AM
 
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yeah you can use tape as well, but the matching abc tag are only like 1.29 and they REALLY helped me
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-28-2005, 10:21 AM
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Well I did label everything when I was pulling my old engine but ended up not even looking at the labels during reassembly.

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 #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-28-2005, 10:56 AM
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-29-2005, 06:46 PM
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sorry,
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-29-2005, 09:31 PM
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you guys forgot the updated ford ones from the 94 + cars, i havent seen any of those blow

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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-30-2005, 01:48 AM
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I didnt forget, you didnt see where I said Ford gaskets are Fel-Pro gaskets with the Ford mark-up

And btw, I replaced HG's on a 94 a few weeks ago.

-Thomas

1988 Notch Mustang: - 438W, direct port n2o, t56
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-31-2005, 03:11 AM
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It is advisable to replace the head bolts when you do the head gasket job.Ford make a head gskt kit that includes new head bolts at a the same price as felpro charges just for the gskt set.This set is designed for replacing head gaskets only and as such does not have the valve seals.The part number is F5PZ-6051-CA.I found this info through a Ford tech I know after I had ordered the regular gskt kit and found as you say it was a lot cheaper for this program kit.Hope this helps Jim
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post #16 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-31-2005, 06:05 AM
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YOU HAVE TO REPLACE THE HEAD BOLTS! they are torque to yeild and are junk once removed .

64 ford galaxie -FE powered beast!- sleeping giant
69 cougar standard- 347/c6 -efi restomod, heidts prog 4 link heavily modified front, custom strutrods boxed lowers rollerperches 620 lowering springs! meier shock tower brace
96 f150 supercab lifted beast! 351 powered beast
87 shasta roadmaster 29ft travel trailer- pimpdaddy camping!
mn12 less!
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post #17 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-31-2005, 12:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by park7163
It is advisable to replace the head bolts when you do the head gasket job.Ford make a head gskt kit that includes new head bolts at a the same price as felpro charges just for the gskt set.This set is designed for replacing head gaskets only and as such does not have the valve seals.The part number is F5PZ-6051-CA.I found this info through a Ford tech I know after I had ordered the regular gskt kit and found as you say it was a lot cheaper for this program kit.Hope this helps Jim

You can get the fel-pro headgasket kit with or without the valve stem seals. And ehad bolts are about 25-30 dollars I believe.

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post #18 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-31-2005, 03:08 PM
 
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yeah replace those head bolts i think all togather they were mybe 25 bucks
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