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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
coming home tonight and stopped at a stop sighn. suddenly white coolant smoke surrounds me! ugh it never showed hot. about halfway thru normal is as far as it got. i noticed on the block next to the head it is wet. could this be i only blew a gasket? and when i remove the head which gaskets have to be replaced? the kit last time was like 80 to 100 bucks and i'm really not wanting to burn another hole in my pocket since it's already empty :(


-thanks
 

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Should be able to reuse the valve cover gasket, some extra rtv wouldn't hurt. Depending on the how long it's been, I would replace the timing belt. You'll need new head bolts with the new gasket, or even if take the head off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
i've put about 1200 miles on the new head. driving for about a month. the valve cover gasket the only one i can reuse?
 

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Depends on what position you're in. If you don't have the cash to spend 13 dollars for a new belt, then reuse it. I'm sure you could reuse the intake gaskets, if you even remove it off the head. But no matter what, you need new head bolts rather you're replacing the gasket, or just removing the head, which would require a new head gasket anyway. Did you use new head bolts the first time when you replaced you head? Perhaps your new head is bad.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
yes. all new gaskets and headbolts when i replaced head. after i took the head off i started to roll the head over and one of the retainers that go under the lifters has snapped. how could this have happened? i'm taking the head to the machine shop tomm. to see if it's cracked or warped.


why would it have done this? and how can other gt's like mine with t3 turbos keep from blow the head off the block? it seems a little odd that this has happened.
 

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89harper said:
it seems a little odd that this has happened.
Definitely. What did the gasket look like, as in any obvious breaks, or where were the leakage paaterns? You're sure you used the correct torque method (xx torque value, loosen xx turns, xx torque, +xx turns).
 

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The broken lifter retainer is definitely a problem. I hope the cam is still good. I also wonder about the torque process you did, along with how flat the head or block deck surfaces were. I don't think it was over-heating that caused the issue. If the gasket wasn't lined up properly, there was a gouge in the the head or block mating surfaces, warping, bad torquing, or the gasket itself was flipped (I've seen it happen) there will be problems.

For the record, I've never backed off the head bolts. I torque them in sequenced using a beam torque wrench, and I've yet to have a head gasket issue. The click-style wrenches can have a pretty wide tolerance as far as torque is concerned.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
i think. hopefully. it was just the gasket. the gasket sealed great to the block; didn't look as it sealed to the head very good tho. i followed the pattern instructions that came with the head. i only torqued it once tho. didn't go back n re-torque or anything (stupid mistake). there are two nicks n the 3 and 4 chamber by the valves. i'll try to get pics up a little later. i also use the beam or rod type torque wrench btw.


yes before i removed the head i thought the gasket had popped bc on the drivers side (mainly # 4) it looked like coolant leakage on the block. i dont understand why it waited about 12 to 1300 miles to do this. it dosent really have a bad power loss. just a little bit rough at idle... oh yeah. horrible smoke. lol
 

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Well, you steam-cleaned cyl. 4. The retorquing is why it failed...definitely do the 1/4 turns in sequence x 2. That's how I got my car, btw...the guy torqued to 44 ft lbs. on the head bolts, and the gasket blew as soon as he started it. Had a new head, lot of sensors, and other various parts. I got the whole car for $200 because of that.

You may want to take the head to a machine shop to check its flatness...if it blew around cyl. 4 twice I'd suspect it. The chunks near the valves indicate debris in the cylinder or rough handling previously. That won't prevent it from sealing, however.

Next gasket you get...go for a 1.6L gasket. Yes, it will seal just fine, and will provide a little higher compression for the engine.

Also, that belt tensioner pulley is pretty rough...I'd look into removing that rust, or replacing the whole thing (they're pretty cheap to replace).
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
alright. what do you think about the broken retainer? the reman. ppl are sending me a new one but what is the cause of this? so i should just reuse my intake gaskets get a new exhaust gasket whith new head bolts and a 1.6 gasket? what model on the 1.6?
 

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Doesn't matter what model since the 1.6L engines all used the same gasket. Basically, grab a head gasket kit for an '83 EFI Escort and you'll be good. The retainer failing might be caused by how the valve seats were ground, or if the lifter is having to move up too far.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
how will i know if i fixed the problem just by putting a new retainer on it? this sounds like it could possibly be harmful. lol
 

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That's the problem. Someone in the 2nd gen forum, I believe, had a problem with breaking retainers after a local shop did a valve job. Turns out they ground the seats too deeply or something, and it caused undue stress on the retainers, so they broke. You are EXTREMELY fortunate that lifter stayed in place and didn't turn. As far as breaking is concerned, it broke in the best possible place.

You mentioned that is a reconditioned head....maybe it's time to ask the people who did it, as I'm suspecting sub-par machine work. The retainers should never really break.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
the guy said that he thought the lifter had turned but he didnt know till he took it apart. if it broke once; whats gunna keep it from breaking again? i think im goiing to try to get them to pay for it or get a whole new head.
 

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With all the work you've done to it, I'd definitely go that route. It would totally suck to put it back together and have that happen again. The fact that the head gasket wasn't seated properly had nothing to do with that retainer breaking. Who reconditioned the head, if you don't mind me asking?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
J&C interprices i think. seen one on ebay for a 2nd gen and gave them a call. lol


yes. if i didn't "love" this car, it would deff. ben gone a long; long time ago.
 

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The 2nd gen head will NOT fit the 1st gen HO intake manifold....it simply does not line up properly. The bolt holes aren't quite right, and the ports are noticeably wrong. It also has a weaker cam, smaller valves, and a freeze plug in place of where the distro bolts on. In other words...don't use it.
The picture doesn't make it look like the lifter turned. You would know, honestly, as it would've sounded horrible. Still, pull the cam from the head and check the lobe for the lifter that turned, as well as the bottom of the lifter. You WILL know if it turned by looking...those things fall apart fast if they turn in the bore.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
i wasn't goiing to try and put a 2ndgen head on it. i thought he had some 1st gen heads... turned out he did. and before it blew the gasket or whatever it did it did have a tick or knock. it got really bad at times then it would go away. hopefully thats what it was.


guy at the head place said valves would not cause it it's not possible.. ugh. he said it was prolly just a weak spot in the retainer that made it break.

shaving the head will void the warranty. piss on his warranty im shaving it so it will seal right.
 

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Yup, that tick was the lifter retainer having issues...may or may not have turned. The ones I've seen posted on here have all been turned, and the retainers broke in the middle or toward it. Yours broke on the outer edge. Keep in mind the last major one that broke the cage was due to bad valve seat grinding, as the angle and depth were bad. In other words...bad machine work that has to be redone. Check the head for flatness before just milling it. Don't just go for a heavy mill, you will have timing belt issues after that. I speak from experience on it. Not to mention my engine won't run well on anything but premium. Forget regular...just knocks and pings even with the ignition in full retard, on a cold day. '89 runs, but I get horrible (mid 20's) mileage. I get low 40's with premium.

The guy at the head place needs to understand the valve geometry that's unique to the CVH head. Messing with the valve seat angle and depth can cause issues. Not to say this happened, but I'm leaning toward it since I've never had a retainer bust from stock valves, not to mention the head you have seems to be poorly rebuilt. I would start finding contacts at the BBB, and let the guy know the work is inferior according to people who, collectively, have 100+ years of experience with these engines, and probably know a little more than he would. Not saying he's stupid, but that he should look at specs, and specifically tell you what they are. If you need some, I can type up a list of things I find in the shop manual regarding the head. If you're still unsure, there are people here who have head rebuilding specs they've gained from experience with porting and modifying. Also...next time stay away from that guy.
 
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