Head Gasket Repair + Performance Goodies

Discussion in 'Fox 5.0 Mustang Tech' started by GrandmasterK, Aug 23, 2011.

  1. GrandmasterK

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    I blew the head gasket on the driver's side of my 1989 GT convertible earlier this summer. I had a quote from a local auto shop that was $2400 (head gasket plus radiator and thermostat). I got a quote from a friend of a friend that was closer to $1,000. I was originally going to have him do it but we've been playing phone tag for a few weeks now (not getting my confidence up that this would be done in any timely fashion either). As the weeks wore on, I got more and more antsy to just do this myself. I did the thermostat the other day and finally last night I decided that I'm just going to do the whole thing myself. I've never done a repair this big (I've done alternators, brakes, and some other smaller things) so I expect I'll be on here a lot during the next month or two asking questions and getting part recommendations (I'm figuring new heads as the very least). I thought people may like to see my progress as I go along too so I'll be sharing pictures along the way (this will also help me when I go to put the car back together).

    [​IMG]
    This is the before picture of my engine (except for the radiator, I didn't think to take any pictures until after I pulled it out).

    [​IMG]
    The Ford Racing aluminum radiator that will replace the rusty old stock one. Definitely looks a TON higher in quality than what I pulled out.

    [​IMG]
    Picture with much of the intake tubing (is that the right term???) pulled off.

    That's as much as I had time for last night. The upper intake should be coming off next. I'll update when I have time, pretty busy this week.
     
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  2. wythors

    wythors Get off my lawn!!!
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    It's just nuts and bolts, not rocket science. You'll do fine. Make sure you have a good manual with torque sequences and specs and follow those religiously. Other than that, get after it! :nice:
     
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  3. darthcual

    darthcual Member

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    Agreed with Wythors. Save yourself some big bucks and do it yourself paying close attention to cleaning old gasket material. The torque sequence and specs can be found in the 5.0 Tech section in the stickies.
     
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  4. ID89GT

    ID89GT Active Member

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    Ya make sure you get the sequence for the lower intake before taking it off
     
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  5. jrichker

    jrichker StangNet's favorite TOOL
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    Cylinder head removal & replacement

    Revised 23-Aug-2011 to update parts list and head bolt information.

    Plan on 3 days to do the job if you haven't done it before.

    Day one gets the heads off in 4-6 hours. Remove the A/C compressor mount bolts and move the compressor out of the way. The A/C compressor swings out of the way without disconnecting any of the lines or losing any refrigerant. Mark all the electrical, smog and vacuum lines with tags to help you remember where to re-connect them.

    Day two gets all the gasket surfaces scraped off extra clean and the heads dropped off at the machine shop if you are going to have them reconditioned. Time here is another 4-6 hours. Whatever you do, don't skimp on cleaning the gasket surfaces. New gaskets need to seat against bare metal and not the residue left from the old gaskets in order to seal leak free. This is the most time consuming and tiresome part of the job. Look for little things that need to be replaced like the short hose from the thermostat hosing to the water pump, damaged vacuum lines and hose clamps that are rusted or broken.

    Day three starts when you get the heads back from the machine shop. This is the time to pick up all the little odd pieces you found needing replacement on your day two inspection/cleanup. Plan on 6-8 hours to reinstall the heads and reconnect everything. Plan on an additional 2 hours to troubleshoot/adjust everything.

    Now for some practical tips:

    Tools: a good torque wrench is a must have item. A razor blade scraper that holds a single edge razor blade from Home Depot or Ace hardware is another handy thing. Get a Chilton or Haynes shop manual - you'll need it for the bolt torques and patterns. The intake manifold has an especially odd pattern.

    Diagram courtesy of Tmoss & Stang&2birds
    [​IMG]

    The bolts are torqued down in a 3 step process.
    Step 1 8 ft/lbs
    Step 2 16 ft/lbs
    Step 3 23-25 ft/lbs

    You'll need access to a timing light to set the timing after you re-stab the distributor. Look in the A/C repair section for the fuel line tools. They look like little plastic top hats. You will need the 1/2" & 5/8" ones. The hat shaped section goes on facing the large part of the coupling. Then you press hard on the brim until it forces the sleeve into the coupling and releases the spring. You may need someone to pull on the line while you press on the coupling. Put some motor oil on them when you put the line back together.

    The A/C Compressor comes off with lines still connected. Mark all the electrical, smog and vacuum lines with tags to help you remember where to re-connect them. If you have a digital camera, take several pictures.

    Whatever you do, don't skimp on cleaning the gasket surfaces. New gaskets need to seat against bare metal and not the residue left from the old gaskets in order to seal leak free. This is the most time consuming and tiresome part of the job. Look for little things that need to be replaced like the short hose from the thermostat hosing to the water pump, damaged vacuum lines and hose clamps that are rusted or broken.
    Put some cardboard in the lifter valley to help catch the gasket scrapings. Have a shop vacuum handy to suck up the scrapings and any coolant that leaked into the lifter valley.

    Plan on cutting the thermostat to water pump hose, or removing the thermostat housing. Also plan on removing the distributor to get clearance to remove the intake manifold. Remove #1 spark plug, stick your finger in the spark plug hole and crank. When your finger gets air moving past it, stop cranking. Turn the engine until the timing marks line up with the pointer. Now you can pull the distributor out. Be sure to put a rag or cap in the block where you removed the distributor. It will save you trouble if something falls into the empty distributor hole.

    My favorite trick that saves time and effort is the stay in place gasket. Be sure that you scrape (don't use a wire brush) all the old gasket material off, then clean all the surfaces with acetone or MEK.

    When the surfaces are clean, use weather strip adhesive on the head to manifold surface, and on the side of the gasket that mates to the head. Follow the instructions on the tube or can and when it gets tacky, press the gasket down on the head.

    Clean the area where the rubber rails mount to the block in front and in the rear with more acetone or MEK and do the same trick with the weather strip adhesive that you did to the heads.

    Coat the rubber seals and the gasket area around the water passages with Blue Silicone gasket sealer and put it together. Whoopee! no leaks, and no gaskets that shifted out of place.

    Get a tube of anti-seize and coat all the bolt threads and under the bolt heads. That will help insure even torque when you tighten the manifold bolts. Plan on re-torquing them after a week’s worth of driving.

    The cylinder head bolts are reusable, but some new ARP bolts are a better plan. Be aware that the ARP bolts have a radiused shank under the bolt head. The ARP washers have a matching radius machined into them. Be sure that the machined radius of the washer is fitted next to the machined radius on the ARP bolt heads. Forget this little fact and you will never get the head bolts to torque down properly.

    Coat the underside of all bolt heads with anti seize and the threads of the long bolts. The short bolts thread directly into the water jacket and need a different treatment. Use Teflon Pipe dope on the threads of the short head bolts. It will prevent any coolant seepage from around the threads. You can get the Teflon pipe dope from the hardware stores, Home Depot or Lowes.

    Fuel injector seal kits with 2 O rings and a pintle cap (Borg-Warner P/N 274081) are available at Pep Boys auto parts. Cost is about $3-$4 per kit. The pintle caps fit either injectors with a pin sticking out the injector end or 4 with more tiny holes in the injector end. The following are listed at the Borg-Warner site ( BWD - Home ) as being resellers of Borg-Warner parts:

    Parts Plus - Premium Auto Parts & Accessories or Auto Value / Bumper to Bumper Quality Parts & Service - Home of the Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance Group or Tires, Auto Parts Stores, Brakes & Automotive Parts | Pep Boys or Federated Auto Parts - Automotive Aftermarket

    Most of the links above have store locators for find a store in your area.

    Use motor oil on the O rings when you re-assemble them & everything will slide into place. The gasoline will wash away any excess oil that gets in the wrong places and it will burn up in the combustion chamber.

    Putting the distributor back in is fairly simple. Pull #1 sparkplug, put your finger in the sparkplug hole,
    crank the engine until you feel compression. Then line up the TDC mark on the balancer with the pointer
    on the engine block.

    The distributor starts out with the #1 plug wire lined up at about 12:00 with you facing it. Align the rotor
    to about 11:00, since it will turn clockwise as it slides into place.

    Align the distributor rotor up with the #1 position marked on the cap, slide the distributor down into the block, (you may have to wiggle the rotor slightly to get the gear to engage) and then note where the rotor is pointing. If it still lines up with #1 position on the cap, install the clamp and bolt. If not, pull it out and turn 1 tooth forwards or backwards and try again. Put the #1 spark plug back in and tighten it down, put the clamp on the distributor, but don't tighten it too much, as you will have to move the distributor to set the timing. Note that if it doesn't align perfectly with #1 position, you can turn the distributor until it does. The only problem is that if you are too far one way or the other, you can't turn the distributor enough to get the 10-14 degree optimum timing range.

    At this point hook up all the wires, get out the timing light and start the engine. Set the timing where your car
    runs best. Don't forget to disconnect the SPOUT jumper connector when you set the timing, and plug it back
    in when you finish.

    The HO firing order is 1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8.
    Non HO firing order is 1-5-4-2-6-3-7-8

    [​IMG]

    Consumable items:
    head gaskets or head gasket kit
    Rocker cover gaskets
    Upper manifold gasket
    Fel Pro 1250 or equal lower manifold gasket set.
    Short formed hose between thermostat hosing and intake manifold
    6 ft 7/64" or 1/8" vacuum hose
    2 ft 1/2" heater hose
    1 1/2 ft 5/8" heater hose
    Blue Silicone sealer
    Spray can weather strip adhesive to hold manifold gaskets in place
    Acetone or MEK to clean gasket surfaces
    1 gallon straight antifreeze (same price as 50/50 mix, but a 90 cent gallon of distilled water makes it 2 gallons at a cheaper price)
    1 gallon distilled water
    ARP antiseize or equal for the bolts
    Teflon Pipe dope
    4 each 3/4" hose clamps (spare item in case the old ones are bad)
    4 each 1/2" hose clamps (spare item)

    Machine shop charges will vary - figure $275-$350 to have heads checked for cracks, cleaned, surfaced, valves ground, valve guides reconditioned, valve springs checked and bad springs replaced.

    See the following website for some help from Tmoss (diagram designer) & Stang&2Birds (website host) for help on 88-95 wiring Mustang FAQ - Wiring & Engine Info Everyone should bookmark this site.

    Ignition switch wiring
    http://www.veryuseful.com/mustang/tech/engine/images/IgnitionSwitchWiring.gif

    Fuel, alternator, A/C and ignition wiring
    http://www.veryuseful.com/mustang/tech/engine/images/fuel-alt-links-ign-ac.gif

    Complete computer, actuator & sensor wiring diagram for 88-91 Mass Air Mustangs
    http://www.veryuseful.com/mustang/tech/engine/images/88-91_5.0_EEC_Wiring_Diagram.gif

    Vacuum diagram 89-93 Mustangs
    http://www.veryuseful.com/mustang/tech/engine/images/mustangFoxFordVacuumDiagram.jpg

    HVAC vacuum diagram
    http://www.veryuseful.com/mustang/tech/engine/images/Mustang_AC_heat_vacuum_controls.gif

    TFI module differences & pinout
    http://www.veryuseful.com/mustang/tech/engine/images/TFI_5.0_comparison.gif

    Fuse box layout
    http://www.veryuseful.com/mustang/tech/engine/images/MustangFuseBox.gif
     
    #5
  6. TenorPlayinGuy

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    Yep, if you're doing it yourself, Take the time to read and re-read all the instructions. If you get lost, theres plenty of us here who have done it at the very least once :).

    I'd say upgrade those heads. Spend the most money on them alone. Especially if you are already thinking about spending over 2k... You could score a nice set of TrickFLows or AFR's for good prices. After that the parts are minimum.

    Good Luck!:nice:
     
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  7. GrandmasterK

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    Thanks for the support and other tips. This probably will be a long project for me, as I generally only have an hour here and there to spare and I'll probably take time while ordering / picking new parts. I'm almost certainly going to get new heads and probably a new upper / lower intake while I have those off too.

    I've gotten a little further now, removed the throttle body and bolts on the upper intake. It's stuck on there pretty good still, my next task will be using a pry bar to try and get it off.
     
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  8. GrandmasterK

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    This is progressing really slowly so far, mostly on account of not having a lot of free time. I've pretty much assumed at this point I won't be driving the car anymore this summer so I can take my take. The longer I take, the more spare cash I'll have for parts too. I'll keep working on it until the garage gets too cold, which gives me a couple months. Hopefully I won't need that much!

    Got the intake off a day or two ago... getting close to those heads!

    [​IMG]
     
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  9. darthcual

    darthcual Member

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    Nice work. I'm right there reverse of where you are. Got my heads and lower intake back on. Hurt my arm tho so progress has slowed to a crawl. Remember you will have to pull the distributor to get that lower intake off. Also when you pull the drivers side head there is a ground strap that mates it to the firewall. I missed it and almost dropped the head, luckily I had a spare set of hands helping me. Be sure and lay a towel over the lifter valley to catch all the crud when the lower intake is finally off.
     
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  10. Flavadave4

    Flavadave4 Active Member

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    I use sandwich bags and a Sharpie marker to label hardware and keep it seperate and orderly, it only takes a few extra seconds and makes life easier putting it back togther.
     
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    k00ksta likes this.
  11. Bryan83taco

    Bryan83taco Active Member

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    $2400 for a head gasket job? Crazy. Just enough for the Trick Flow top end kit!

    Now is the time to upgrade your heads. Save yourself some time and busted knuckles later on down the line.

    Good luck
     
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  12. GrandmasterK

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    It's been a while since I've had time to work on this but I'm hopefully getting back to it very soon. I'm a little confused at this point where to go next. See my previous picture above. There are various metal tubing / lines near the center of the engine (fuel lines maybe or coolant lines). I'm not sure how to disconnect them or where I can go next from here. Any advice would be appreciated.

    Also when doing a head gasket install, is it necessary to remove the distributor?
     
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  13. hoopty5.0

    hoopty5.0 Mustang Master

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    The two black lines on the left side of the intake are your heater core lines. You can disconnect them at the firewall. The other two chrome-ish lines are your fuel rails. you need to undo the quick connects near the front of the engine (might be easier to remove them all together). any auto parts store sells the little plastic tools to break them apart. There's also a PCV line on the back of the lower intake that needs to be removed. And yes, you will need to pull the distributor.
     
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  14. cenok is family

    cenok is family Active Member

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    Holy hell...is this a two year headgasket job??
     
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  15. 88vert5oh

    88vert5oh Member

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    Wow.... Longest headgasket job ever.
     
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  16. mikestang63

    mikestang63 Mustang Master

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    At least the car has low miles on it from sitting for two years. :lol:
     
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  17. 88LX5.Oh

    88LX5.Oh Advanced Member

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    I pulled my lower intake on my car with the distributor still in place...
    [​IMG]
    I know this doesn't exactly PROVE anything, but it's not like I stabbed the dizzy just for sh*ts and giggles.
     
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  18. GrandmasterK

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    > you need to undo the quick connects near the front of the engine (might be easier to remove them all together).
    > any auto parts store sells the little plastic tools to break them apart.

    Do you know what this tool is called? I found some for disconnecting fuel lines but I wasn't sure. And there were several sizes to choose from, any ideas what size I need?


    > Wow.... Longest headgasket job ever.

    Yeah, it's been slow. I don't have a heated garage so I couldn't do anything in winter and I had a friend that was supposed to help me out last summer but we never could find the time and before I knew it, it was winter again. Hopefully I can get this done before it is two full years.

    >I pulled my lower intake on my car with the distributor still in place...

    Yeah, it seems like logistically I could do that too and it'd certainly save some work. I just wasn't sure if not pulling it would be a bad thing.
     
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  19. mikestang63

    mikestang63 Mustang Master

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    They are fuel or a/c line disconnect tools. Try not to get the cheapo ones as they often are useless and break easily. I've used these metal ones and they work better IMO.



    You should contact Guiness for the longest headgasket repair in history. The motor has been sitting for how many years now?
     
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  20. GrandmasterK

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    > They are fuel or a/c line disconnect tools. Try not to get the cheapo ones as they often are useless and break easily. I've used these metal ones and they work better IMO.

    Thanks for the video and explanation. The ones at O'Reilly Autoparts were cheap looking plastic ones (about $5) and you needed to know the size of the fuel lines. I'll look for a metal one like that in the video at a different place.


    > You should contact Guiness for the longest headgasket repair in history. The motor has been sitting for how many years now?

    Well, to be fair I am doing the radiator too :)

    The date of my first post was August 11, 2011. I haven't been actively working on this or that would be really sad. Work, family, winter, etc keep me too busy but I'm really itching to get this up and running again.
     
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