Head Gasket Install Manual | Page 3 | Ford Escort Owners Association (FEOA)

Head Gasket Install Manual

Discussion in '2nd Gen 1991-1996 1.9L SOHC' started by curtiskurtz, Sep 6, 2017.

  1. Pizzaman5000

    Pizzaman5000 FEOA Donator

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    Ive had great experience with eastwing channel locks, used as an ULTRA vice grip.

    You clamp down the channel locks like normal, then you wrap a piece twine around the handle multiple times and zip tie it secure to hold the "wrap" on. Wear glasses!!!!!! If it does slip, it may throw sparks!
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  2. rc5

    rc5 FEOA Member

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    I went with the channel lock 410 and they're awesome, as soon as I got them set up they bit in hard and I got it out! The threads look completely fine too, I'm amazed.

    Tomorrow the plan is to clean off the block surface and check for warpage. I'm thinking of just starting with razor blades and a degreaser just to be safe about not removing material, or getting a roloc disc if that doesn't work. I've read on some other forums about people using a fine grit sandpaper but that just seems scary, but I guess it's all about the technique being used. This is my first HG job so I want to try and be as safe as I can.
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  3. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    I have good luck with just a razor blade in a holder as a scraper. My favorite degreaser is acetone, but just gasoline also work. The sandpaper I use is the cloth backed kind, and in a grit of about 400 or 600. I dont push very hard at all, that stuff is mostly in the realm of degreasing. Getting crud out of the bolt holes is something I always do, but I have never gotten a lot of crud out. Its mostly the dust from the scraping that gets blown out.
  4. Intuit

    Intuit FEOA Member

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    Re bolt holes, 150 PSI compressed air. (just keep eyeballs out of path of projectiles)
  5. rc5

    rc5 FEOA Member

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    I've cleaned the block up with acetone and razor blades and it feels smooth to the touch and won't catch a fingernail, but it doesn't really look all that clean. In order to get the most ideal seal, does the surface need to be super shiny, with no trace of old gasket material? I checked with a feeler gauge and the smallest blade is .0015 of an inch and I can't get it under the straight edge on any part of the deck, in any direction. But if it needs to be cleaner I'll probably have to go with sandpaper or a disc wheel, as the razors don't seem to be able to take off any more.

    Also, there are a couple of imperfections in the surface that I'm a little worried about. One is a weird cross pattern of hash marks, but it's above the bolt hole on the top left near #1 and I'm assuming not a problem in terms of sealing.

    The other one though is right on the ring of #3; I've circled it in green. How bad does this look? Will it cause any problems with a good seal?

    Thanks for the help, and I hope everybody here has a great Christmas. IMG_3775.JPG IMG_3777.JPG IMG_3787_LI.jpg IMG_3795 r.JPG
  6. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    My guess is that the 'nick' at the fire ring doesnt look bad enough to be any problem.

    Dont worry too much about the top of the block being discolored. They dont stay shiny and bright; not on any engine. And the darkened areas arent residue from the head gasket, but the results of normal slow oxidation.
    Getting mine 'decked' might not have made any difference; just that I liked having the top of the block shiny, since the block was at the machine shop anyway. And the shinyness resulted from the face of a large spinning end-mill, that was super flat.
    I would not use any abrasive tool to create shiny spots; too much danger of creating a region of substandard head gasket 'squeeze'.
  7. Joey_Twowagons

    Joey_Twowagons FEOA Member

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    I bet that when you put the new head gasket on, the nick will be inside of its "fire ring". The holes in replacement gaskets seem to be larger than necessary, which was discussed in another thread a while ago.

    Using hand held power tools on machined surfaces can cause grooves or rounded edges. Sanding by hand is much safer and gives better results.
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  8. Benlightnd

    Benlightnd FEOA Donator

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    please take the time to clean out those head bolt holes. put some penetrating oil in each
    one and let it soak over night. use a wire brush of appropriate size and run it down into
    each hole and clean the threads.
    If you run a bolts down in there and there is some liquid in one of those holes it could
    actually crack the block. If you leave all that crud in there, you likely won't get a good
    torque on your head bolts
  9. Intuit

    Intuit FEOA Member

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    ^Good advice.

    In addition to the high PSI air, made use of an old head bolt and motor oil to help ensure that those bolt holes were smooth and clean.

    Avoid using taps as they will needless remove thread material.
  10. rc5

    rc5 FEOA Member

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    Thanks everybody, glad that nick isn't too bad.

    I had actually just bought a tap and die set but I haven't opened it yet and I'm gonna return it. A manual had said to clean the threads with a tap but after reading Intuit's advice I did some research and it seems like taps can be dangerous since they never go in exactly perfect and can weaken the threads. Right now I have each bolt hole soaking in degreaser and will just clean out with wire brushes. I wish I had compressed air but was thinking of using an air duster can and possibly duct taping a straw to my vacuum and trying to suck up some of the junk that way.

    One thing that I really wanted to do was make sure I've got the problem diagnosed and understand why it was burning coolant, and so I cleaned the head mating surface as good as I could- it's not perfectly shiny as you can see in the first picture, but using a degreaser and razor blades I was able to get it really smooth, and I removed a lot of carbon around the combustion chambers. In the second photo I have the straight edge going lengthwise across the center and in between #1 and #2, #2 and #3, and between #3 and #4 I can get in a .004" feeler gauge. A .005" will stick in but not go all the way under the straight edge. In the third picture is a low angle of the head surface, and you can see the light coming through the other side under the straight edge. At the edges of the head, on either side of #1 and #4, I can't get any gauge through.

    Is a .004" gap enough to cause a combustion leak? I'm thinking it makes sense since the valves on #2 and #3 are so clean, and they're in the middle of the warped head and probably sucked in the most coolant. The only thing that confuses me is why only the front right head bolt was rusted and seized. Maybe there's some other issue with that part of the head right in that spot, since the thermostat housing is right there?

    The last photo is of the block again. I rechecked it with the straight edge and I actually could get a .002", but not a .0025" through that one spot in the photo. But everywhere else is still flat, and I think the problem is that there are still some high spots of carbon and/or gasket material still left on the block in a few places, as I was able to take off a little bit more with the razor today. Since everywhere else is flat, and it is cast iron, I'm thinking the block is ok.

    So at this point, if the diagnosis of a warped head sounds correct, I'm gonna order a new head and then go over the block with some super fine sandpaper just to make sure all the crud is off there, and then hopefully I should be good to go for reassembly!

    For the new HG, is there any specific type that's best to use? Rock Auto has a Mahle/Victor Reinz set that has the bolts and all new gaskets. It says the HG is made of nitroseal- is that a good material to go with?

    IMG_3807.JPG IMG_3797.JPG IMG_3806.JPG
    IMG_3800.JPG
  11. Benlightnd

    Benlightnd FEOA Donator

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    WELL, For years, none of us had compressed air to use. We made do with what we had.
    The best way to clean at the bolts holes is to soak them as you are doing. Then you can
    get a shop towel and a small straight tool of some kind that will fit in the bolts holes.
    Work the shop towel down in the hole and give it a few spins. It will soak up the remaining
    liquid in the hold and clean the threads at the same time.

    It's hard to pin point why a head gaskets leaks. Point is, it did and now you need only
    make sure you've assembled everything correctly to keep it from doing it again.

    .004 is fine ! you'll rarely see anything any closer without having it milled. Keep in
    mind this is an aluminum head. It will flex when you torque it down and all your
    reading will change. That's why we have a specific sequence to tighten / torque the
    head bolts. It's the best method to insure you've crushed the head gasket evenly.

    You really need to clean the surface to the head. you need to remove as mush of that
    black as you can all across the head. You also need to use a wire brush and clean that
    carbon off the face of your valves. That carbon will heat up and actually cause your
    engine to fire prematurely. ( make it ping )

    The block is also fine. The new head gasket should be around 20 thousands thick. It
    will make up for most variations between the block and the head. Just make sure both
    surfaces are as clean as you can possibly get them.

    Doesn't really matter which brand head gasket set you buy. Their all about the same.

    Some have the head bolts in them and some don't. You really should replace the head
    bolts. Their designed to stretch as you torque them down. That's why the torque method has your torque and turn rather than completing a specific torque.

    Once a head bolt had been installed, it is not recommended to reuse it.

    Head bolts normally rust / pit etc on the exhaust side of the engine. That side of the
    head / block is hotter due to the engine exhausting on that side. The heat will actually
    increase the affect of a thing call Electrolysis. Electrolysis is a normal process present
    in anything where an electric charge will pass through a liquid. Add the heat to the
    mix that causes the liquid to boil / bubble. The bubbles will cause cavitation when
    the bubbles break against a peace of metal.

    In a nut shell, that's what ate up the bolt that broke when you tried to remove it.

    We can't stop the affects of Electrolysis but we can slow is down be grounding our
    engines. A good ground reducing the static charge that builds up in the cooling
    system and !!!!!

    OK, that explanation would get really long so I'll just drop it there.

    Bottom line: Your doing a great job. Just finish cleaning it up and put it
    together.

    I hope Santa was nice to all here. Everyone have a wonderful / safe New Year
  12. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    I agree with the above advice.
    The matter of that front driver's side bolt being rusty is something I have noticed on most of the eight 1.9L engines I have rebuilt. So its not unusual. And two of them had the bolt snap upon removal.
    As far as the thread tap doing any damage to the threads in the block; that is not my experience; and I do it on any and all engines I work on & will continue to do so. And getting the started in vertically isnt hard - you would have to seriously mess things up to have them go in any way be other than vertical to the hole. How do you think they threaded the bolt holes in the first place?
  13. rc5

    rc5 FEOA Member

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    Yeah I guess the internet is somewhat divided on whether tapping head bolt holes is a good idea, some people say it's fine and others have always done it and had no problems. Since I don't have much experience I just want to be as safe as possible but I'll see how clean I can get them.

    Thanks again everybody! I'll post photos once I have the surfaces all clean and ready for install.
  14. Joey_Twowagons

    Joey_Twowagons FEOA Member

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    I think you are doing a better and more careful job than 95 percent of the people that are changing a head gasket, and agree that the tiny amount of head warpage is acceptable.

    When I was a teenager I bought a tap and die set and was quite keen on using it, and discovered that indeed it consistently cut threads on the loose side.

    The threads on taps in the cheaper sets are usually cut thread, whereas quality ones are ground thread. The latter are the same as used in industry and will not cut a thread oversize, but they are expensive and the worst thing for dulling them is cutting rust.
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  15. rc5

    rc5 FEOA Member

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    I took some WD-40 and 500 grit sandpaper and cleaned the block deck up; it's super smooth now.

    And I took a wire brush to the intake manifold to try and clean up the corrosion. The pitting is pretty bad, I'm starting to wonder if the problem was actually the intake gasket and coolant was getting sucked through the intake valves. I'm thinking of taking some of the JB weld meant for wet surfaces and putting it on the manifold to fill in the pits as best as I can and then sand it flat.

    The head I ordered should be delivered in a few days and hopefully everything will be back together soon IMG_3817 rot.JPG IMG_3820.JPG . Thanks again everyone!
  16. Intuit

    Intuit FEOA Member

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    Apparently failed to photograph it, but my intake was pretty pitted also. I don't recall doing anything special with it. The sealing surfaces were fine; it was only the areas that were open to direct coolant exposure that were badly scoured. The gasket that was supposed to be covering those areas was pretty much completely dissolved away.
  17. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    I just scuff off the pitted crusty aluminum, and use RTV sealant on both sides of the new intake manifold gasket - but just in the areas around the openings in the head for the water-jacket. Since I have done my mini-rebuild on eight 1.9L engines, I haven't run into any worse problems, and as far as I could tell, there were no subsequent leaks.
  18. Joey_Twowagons

    Joey_Twowagons FEOA Member

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    I am another Escort owner who has seen the same level of corrosion of the intake manifold, where the coolant passage dead ends, on all the manifolds I have removed. I used the Permatex No. 2 (brown goo) sealant on it.
  19. Intuit

    Intuit FEOA Member

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    Sure I'm not the only one thinking about possible "electrolysis" here. Too bad Myth Busters never tackled that. I dunno if that's actually a real phenomenon and threat or mythological manifestation of imagination.

    I'm curious what everyone's voltage drop readings are, between the alternator casing and battery negative post. Measuring is quick and simple. To measure, simply connect one end of a volt meter probe to the battery NEGATIVE post, the other end to the alternator casing**. Start the engine, run *ALL* accessories including blower motor on high, hazard lights, dome lights, brake lights, high beams, rear defrost, engine fan (turn on A/C), car stereo cranked, etcetera. Up the RPM to at least 3k.

    That should help saturate the negative side of the circuit for a good reading. My drop reading with all accessories I guesstimate was 0.63v; maybe as high as 0.8v? This got it down to millivolts... https://www.feoa.net/threads/alternator-not-charging.91409/#post-836929


    ** For a clean connection, you'll have to scuff up the metal to clean off the outer layer of corrosion.
    https://www.amazon.com/Magic-Shell-Double-ended-Alligator-Crocodile/dp/B01F6PNAFU
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01NCLIFVG
  20. salvageyard saviour

    salvageyard saviour FEOA Member

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    If you haven't done the head bolt holes yet. Most of those HF and TSC tap and die sets are pretty mellow. They're more of thread cleaners than actual metal cutters.
    Awhile ago I read on a thread (here I think) about cutting a groove down an old head bolt and using it to clean the hole. This works great for me. It cleans all the way down to the bottom and doesn't leave cleaning fluid or dust piled at the bottom.
    I've also used gasket sealer in that middle area of the intake. Can't remember if they looked that bad, but I know it wasn't pretty. Used RTV black, probably overkill. Tried not to over use it so excess didn't squeeze into the coolant system.
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