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  1. #1
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    Default Blown head gasket -any tips?

    My 89 coupe has 183k miles on it, I'm the original owner. One of the head gaskets blew a few weeks ago - seems like it blew between the water jacket and the outside, no increase in temperature, no trace of water in the oil etc, but when I stop anywhere there's a cloud of steam and I can see water leaking out of the rear of the drivers side cylinders. So...I'm going to replace the head gasket on both sides and plan on getting a valve job while the heads are off. I have the factory service manual, but I was just wondering if any of you have any tips or suggestions for things to be aware of, or careful about while I do this job.

    The last head gasket I replaced was around 1970 in a 948cc 4-cylinder Austin Healey Sprite !!

    Thanks.

    Tony

  2. #2
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    Do you have the oil cooler ? If so the hose to it can spring a leak and shoot the water against the engine about there.
    Before you pull the head be sure to check this because it is not common for a small block to blow a gasket to the outside.Hope your lucky on this one.

    Glenn

  3. #3
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    Default i'll check

    Yes I have the oil cooler, I'll get a pressure tester and check that first - that would be great if that's the problem.
    When it first started leaking I tried some Barrs Stop leak and that seemed to fix it for a couple of weeks - it was losing about a couple of pints in 10 miles and most of my driving is short distance. Now it loses about a gallon in five miles, it seems so much worse that a hose leak seems a much more likely problem. Thanks, so much.

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    If it's leaking on the intake side of the head, you need to replace the intake manifold gaskets. Common problem ...

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by gbrtng View Post
    If it's leaking on the intake side of the head, you need to replace the intake manifold gaskets. Common problem ...
    Thanks for the advice. I used a pressure tester on the cooling system today and water came gushing out of the rear of the head gasket, sooo.....12 hours later, with the help of a very good buddy, I have now removed both heads. What a PITA. Especially removing the passenger side exhaust manifold to get at a couple of the head bolts.

    Now it's off to a head shop for surfacing and a valve job.

    I'd really, really appreciate any hints on putting it all together again, especially the passenger side exhaust manifold, it's a real tight squeeze between the heater box at the rear and the A/C at the front. It would be really nice to put the exhaust in place first then put the head on, but I wouldn't be able to reach a couple of head bolts under the manifold. I have a similar issue on the driver's side but that is not as tight a squeeze.

    Also, should I get new head bolts? What's the collective wisdom on this?

    Thanks in advance.

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    If the engine has 184,000 miles I would not approach this simply as a head gasket replacement.

    I'd overhaul the engine.

    With that many miles it's "penny-wise but pound-foolish" to just do the heads and change the gaskets.

    But, if you insist on doing it that way, I'd reuse the head bolts. With a traditional small-block V8, it is not necessary to replace the head bolts when changing gaskets.

    That said, you do want to run a tap or a thread chaser into the head bolt threads in the block. When doing so, take care so the debris that comes out of the holes during the thread cleaning, doesn't get into the cylinder bores.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hib Halverson View Post
    If the engine has 184,000 miles I would not approach this simply as a head gasket replacement.

    I'd overhaul the engine.

    With that many miles it's "penny-wise but pound-foolish" to just do the heads and change the gaskets.

    But, if you insist on doing it that way, I'd reuse the head bolts. With a traditional small-block V8, it is not necessary to replace the head bolts when changing gaskets.

    That said, you do want to run a tap or a thread chaser into the head bolt threads in the block. When doing so, take care so the debris that comes out of the holes during the thread cleaning, doesn't get into the cylinder bores.
    I agree it is a total waste of time and money putting it back together with just a valve job.
    The valve job will increase the compression and that will cause it to burn oil.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Black Bart View Post
    I agree it is a total waste of time and money putting it back together with just a valve job.
    The valve job will increase the compression and that will cause it to burn oil.
    My budget didn't allow for an overhaul so I replaced the hoses, water pump, rotor, plugs and wires and got it running a couple of days ago, set the timing today and everything appears to be OK. Thanks all for the advice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tonybabb View Post
    My budget didn't allow for an overhaul so I replaced the hoses, water pump, rotor, plugs and wires and got it running a couple of days ago, set the timing today and everything appears to be OK. Thanks all for the advice.
    With that mileage it may be running but I'm not sure OK would be what it is.
    The piston rings are wore out so is the rod and main bearings oil pump cam bearings valve guides lifters valve springs I could go on but my point is your engine is wore out.
    It may run but I sure would not drive it hard

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Black Bart View Post
    With that mileage it may be running but I'm not sure OK would be what it is.
    It may run but I sure would not drive it hard
    I've never driven it hard - ever - and I'm waaaay too old to start doing that now !!

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