Head Gasket Install Manual | Page 4 | 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. rc5

    rc5 FEOA Member

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    Yeah for the head bolt holes I actually did end up returning the taps and for the same price got an HF angle grinder and cut grooves in an old head bolt to make a chaser out of it. Seemed to work pretty well and then I also cut the heads off a couple of the head bolts to use as guides when putting the new head on.

    On the intake I did end up putting JB Weld on the pitted area but I'm kind of regretting it now because I have to sand the excess JB high spot that's on there now and it's a pain. Probably should have just used RTV.

    My remanufactured head just got delivered so I'm hoping to get the install done this weekend.
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  2. Intuit

    Intuit FEOA Member

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    Did you remember to insert the little metal tube inserts for the oil ports? Those tend to guide your decent.
  3. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    I think the small metal tubes are called "head dowels"; which seems like a minor misnomer. They may be pretty important to keep the head & head gasket lined up with the fire rings at the cylinders, though not all engines have them. (The 4-cyl engine in my Comanche doesnt). I have lost "head dowels" over my years as a hobbyist (not with Escorts though), and had trouble finding replacements. Have made up a set in fact.

    There are also alignment 'dowels' between the block and the bell housing: They are also hollow items. They are harder to fabricate, having different outside diameters on the block side versus the bell housing side. So far I havent found them listed in the autoparts stores where I have remembered to ask.
  4. Intuit

    Intuit FEOA Member

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    Given their design and locations, I had assumed at the time that they were also intended to help improve sealing around the oil ports. If the transmission has similarly designed parts, and no lubricant is exchanged across them, then that would seem to suggest that their primary function is, as a dowel/guide.
  5. rc5

    rc5 FEOA Member

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    Yeah I was able to clean up and reuse those dowels. The install of the head seemed to go pretty well, but I got delayed because I noticed the bolt holes still had some moisture in them so I cleaned them again. I don't have compressed air so I used an air duster and got the moisture out. So unfortunately because of that delay and getting a late start I couldn't finish this weekend, but I do have the new head bolted up and the exhaust manifold on.

    But I'm getting hung up on stuff that should be easy- tonight I was trying to put on the timing belt and I can't figure out why I have a ton of slack in the belt on the right side (side facing toward the front of the car). I feel like that side should be more taught and the slack should be on the tensioner side so that when you loosen the tensioner it takes up the slack without turning the crank. I can't figure out what I'm doing wrong. Gotta do some research and keep trying.
  6. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    HYou are right, the front side of the belt should be taut - but that only happens after you get the belt installed (with the tensioner pushed back toward the firewall), and then release the tensioner. I then snug up the tensioner, and turn the engine a few times, after checking the timing marks again. and because of obsessive compulsive disorder, checking again.
  7. Intuit

    Intuit FEOA Member

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    Have to have ZERO-tooth slack on the left side. All slack should be left on the tensioner side. If you're releasing the tensioner and still have slack then consider the possibility that you've been given the wrong belt; compare old to new.
  8. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    And once the tensioner has been allowed to slide forward - it should take up any visible slack. I still turn the engine a few times, to let the belt be running straight on the sprockets, then loosen and retighten the tensioner.
    I had one belt that was runing loose, because I had over-torqued the tensioner bolt. This made the washer under it to be 'dished' inward, just enough for the far end of that tensioner bolt to be rubbing the side of the block. So even though it seemed tight, it still let the tensioner move slightly. Got a new tensioner, and ground a millimeter of the end of the bolt. Then used my torque wrench to establish proper torque. Since my torque werench wont fit onto the tensioner bolt because of space limitations, I simulated tightening to the correct torque on my bench vise, and made it about-that-tight on the tensioner bolt itself.
  9. Joey_Twowagons

    Joey_Twowagons FEOA Member

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    Also watch out for the idler on the water pump not running true. I was going to buy one at the parts store but when I spun the idler by hand there was obvious, visible runout.

    So I bought a rebuilt Ford one, although the body was very badly eroded away, almost certainly due to being left in the aggressive chemical stripping tank too long.
  10. rc5

    rc5 FEOA Member

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    I'm gonna get back at it tonight after work; I'll check the idler pulley out and see if there's any issue there. I'm reusing the belt that was on before since it's only got a few thousand miles on it.

    I'm thinking I'll adjust the crank a little bit to move one of the teeth over which will hopefully line things up a bit better. When I was trying to install it the first time, the belt was barely going on over the tensioner pulley even though it was pulled all the way over toward the firewall, and I knew that couldn't be right.

    I also need to get the intake manifold on without messing up the gasket. The stupid dipstick being in the way is no fun. After that I'm thinking it should be straightforward, but I've said that a few times already and jinxed myself so I'm just thinking one step at a time. Thanks again for all the advice everyone.
  11. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    With the tensioner pushed as far back as it will go (I use a wooden stick to help lever it back), and its bolt snugged up; it will still be a near thing to get the belt installed. I make it a little easier by having the sprocket on the crankshaft slid out about 1/4", then get the belt barely started onto the camshaft sprocket, the water pump sprocket, and over the edge of the tensioner. Then I push the timing belt onto the crankshaft sprocket, and the camshaft sprocket, and the water pump sprocket and the tensioner - bit by bit. I use a wooden stick to push on it, so as not to damage the belt with any metal tool. And I push the crankshaft sprocket fully onto the crankshaft. I start this while having the crankshaft turned about 1/2 tooth backwards. This allows a small amount of movement of the belt, instead of being taut. This helps me get the timing belt installed correctly; instead of one tooth "off".
    Once its evenly on the three sprockets and the tensioner, I can loosen the bolt holding the tensioner retracted. This normally pulls the belt into snugness - as the tensioner moves forward. I tighten the tensioner bolt, then rotate the engine 3 or 4 times - turning only in the clockwise direction. If the belt has moved near to the middle of the cam and crankshaft sprockets, and the marks till line up - then I loosen the tensioner to let it skid any tiny distance forward it wants to go, and do the torquing of that bolt.

    I Do Not try to push the tensioner so as to exert more force on the belt. I did that with my first rebuild, and the timing belt snapped after 30k miles. Since then I just left the spring behind the tensioner do its job.
  12. rc5

    rc5 FEOA Member

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    Thanks denisond, and everyone here for all the help. With the belt, I don't know whether it's just the way the new head was set up but there was just no way to get the timing mark on the crank pulley perfectly lined up with the mark (the cam mark was dead on). One tooth's difference was either a little ahead or a little behind, I set it ahead.

    So I took today off and got it finally back together. Started it up, cranked for about 5 seconds and fired up! Sounded good, but when I get out, I see clear liquid dropping on the floor. I had filled the radiator up with water since I figured I might as well do a flush before refilling with coolant. So I think it's water but it's a lot. I take a look around the intake and I see that it's not water, it's gas! Fuel was just spouting out of the little valve at the end of the fuel rail and splashing onto the ground. I couldn't tell if it was also coming out of the fuel line connections (with the spring couplings) cause they got covered in gas. I shut it off as fast as I could but I have no idea why that happened- does anyone have any idea what's wrong? I couldn't believe what I was seeing.
  13. rc5

    rc5 FEOA Member

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    Pretty sure it's that schrader valve on the rail, there's a little pool of gas in it. I hope I didn't break it somehow. When removing the old head I pressed down on the tip of the valve to relieve pressure, but I didn't remember hearing any noise or having any indication that pressure was released. When disconnecting the fuel lines on disassembly some fuel leaked out but it wasn't bad.

    Maybe that valve needs replacing?
  14. rc5

    rc5 FEOA Member

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    Hm, after checking my ford service manual I think the problem is probably that I did not actually relieve the pressure when taking things apart. I remember in the past once maybe for doing the fuel filter, I pressed a red button while the engine was running which stalled it out and was supposed to relieve the pressure.

    If that's the problem, should I just start it again and wait for the pressure to stabilize? I just don't want to get gas all over my floor again.
  15. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    If you get one of the little tools for removing valve stems from wheels, you can unscrew the schrader valve and make sure its not got any crud on it. After threading it back in, the car would have come with a black plastic screw-on lid. I think the threads are the same as any tire valve stem, and you can just buy a metal screw-on lid for a tire valve stem, to go over the schrader valve. Its possible the schrader valve on the fuel rail is the same as any valve stem for a cars tire. I dont know.
    I work outside, so gasoline that drips down just goes into the ground. If I worked indoors I might throw down an old towel to soak up spilled fuel - and give the rest of it a while to evaporate.

    On the engines I have fixed up, I went by the tiny dimple in the side of the head to set the cam timing in line with the arrow on the cam sprocket; and the tiny lump on the crankshaft sprocket, lined up with the center of the casting on the oil pump that sticks out over the crankshaft pulley. But to redo that setting, you need to remove the crankshaft pulley again. Only being one tooth off is probably okay for now.
    One thing you dont use for setting the cam timing, is the mark on the side of the timing belt cover. Thats for checking the ignition timing during assembly at the factory.
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  16. Joey_Twowagons

    Joey_Twowagons FEOA Member

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    The Schrader valve is a special one and has a longer "nail" on its top than the ones for tires. It also has a fuel resistant rubber seal in it, unlike the tire version.

    I have had two of them fail, the brass looked etched, no doubt by the modern alcohol containing gasoline. One of them broke in two as I was unscrewing it.

    I get replacements from empty one pound disposable propane cans of the type used for torches and camp stoves. I figured they are compatible with petroleum liquids, as that is what the propane inside is, mostly. They also have the long "nail" on top.

    To remove them from the propane bottle, you have to pry or pull out a hard plastic ring, then a tiny O-ring before unscrewing the valve.
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  17. Joey_Twowagons

    Joey_Twowagons FEOA Member

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    I found a picture of the valve from when I pumped out the tank via that fitting.
    I made a tool to remove the valves from an old screwdriver, although I think nowadays they are readily purchased:

    Tire changing, Escort fuel tank emptying 025.JPG

    Note long "nail" on Schraeder valve. A tool designed for tire valves might not have a hole deep enough to accommodate it, and need to be drilled deeper.
    Tire changing, Escort fuel tank emptying 015.JPG
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  18. rc5

    rc5 FEOA Member

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    Thanks guys, I appreciate it. I put a valve stem cap on that valve and either that stopped it, or the problem went away on it's own, so that's the good news.

    But now that I've been able to run the engine, I'm not sure if what I'm seeing is normal or not. I was doing a coolant flush so I filled the radiator with water, ran the engine for 5 minutes, drained out, and refilled the rad again til it ran clear. I ran the engine four times doing that.

    First time starting it up, tons of smoke around the block, and water droplets from where the catalytic converter pipe bolts to the flex pipe, and what I think was some smoke from the exhaust.

    Second time running it, smoke around block is gone, but water droplets are spitting out the exhaust, but not much smoke, and droplets of water at the cat pipe joint again. I take a break to go eat and so engine gets cold again.

    Third time running it, a little bit of smoke around the block, but not much, and still spitting water out the exhaust, and also some smoke coming out at the same time. A few drops from where the cat meets the mid pipe, but much less.

    Fourth time, no smoke from the block, no real visible smoke I could see from the tail pipe, but still spitting water droplets from the exhaust. No water coming from the cat to mid pipe joint.

    So I'm not sure what to make of that. I've done some reading and I guess it's not uncommon to get condensation out of the tailpipe after doing a head gasket, as coolant/water can build up in the cat and exhaust from the combustion leak and that can take time to burn off. Does that make sense, that the condensation just needs to be burned off through driving? I'm thinking that if the head wasn't sealing I'd be getting more smoke out the pipe rather than actual liquid water droplets. Anyone seen the same thing after replacing the head gasket?
  19. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    After putting an engine back together and doing a first startup, I consider some smoke around the block to be entirely normal: Thats any sealant and antiseize stuff you put onto the exhaust components and bolts going into the head, plus left-over coolant or spilled motor oil that dribbled out from when you pulled the head off the block.

    Some water dripping from the tailpipe is also normal, though less noticeable in a warm and very dry location (Phoenix maybe) compared with more humid locations. (Has Sacramento had rainy weather recently?) Two large products of combustion are carbon dioxide and water vapor. Once the exhaust system is fully hot, most of the water vapor coming out is steam - therefore invisible. In really cold locations the plume of condensed water vapor will be visible longer. I was in Minneapolis on a morning when it was -14f, and the white plumes of moisture from other commuters cars tailpipes never did entirely go away.
    The radio announcers also reminded folks that at each stop light, the moisture from the tailpipe would fall onto the pavement and freeze - just to remind drivers to expect slippery spots are each intersection.

    After a head gasket job, its important to repeatedly check whether the car is losing coolant. There are two places to check; under the radiator cap, and in the coolant recovery bottle. For a few days I check it each morning when the engine is cold, before I start up. Once filled, you should see coolant in the angled filler neck of the radiator. It doesnt have to be right at the top, but it needs to be in that angled neck at some level. It can take a day or two for all air bubbles in the heater system to get forced out.
    For the coolant recovery bottle I like to see 3" or 4" or more of coolant in it. I check that using a twig about a foot long. (I have lots of brush around to get twigs from). I only stop checking it when the coolant level is not dropping from morning to morning.

    I dont care if the "check coolant" light comes on. On my Escorts I disconnect the sensor, on the cap, which likes to give false readings, and just check it in the mornings until I know its stable.
  20. rc5

    rc5 FEOA Member

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    Thanks, yeah it has been cold and rainy here recently. I sure hope that's all it is, I really don't want to have to do this job over again.

    I'm gonna have the opportunity to drive the car around and monitor for coolant loss this weekend. Got my fingers crossed...

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