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  #1  
Old 03-18-2014, 10:01 PM
Nylund Nylund is offline
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Default 97 Head Gasket Replacement Project w/ Pictures

So was having a hard time starting my 97 Ranger and drove it to the local shop around here and they diagnosed it as a blown head gasket and quoted me $1100 to fix. My dad and I are in no way master mechanics, but decided to give it a try. Armed with our Haynes manual and an open garage we dove right in. All in all we have both of the heads off and found that one of the cylinders is filled with some sort of liquid which from what I have read is the sure sign of a blown head gasket. We ended up getting a great deal at Advanced Auto and got some other parts to replace since we already had everything out so we got a head gasket kit, thermostat, and a remanufactured water pump all for $65! Also got a new radiator! One concern is that on the valve covers and rocker arms and push rods, they are all covered in a brown muddy substance. What would be the best way to go about cleaning all that out?

here is the beginning!


With both of the heads off!


The cylinder filled with the mystery liquid! haha


Brown muddy substance on the bottom of the valve covers!


Rockers arms!
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  #2  
Old 03-19-2014, 02:18 PM
cvar cvar is offline
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Default Re: 97 Head Gasket Replacement Project w/ Pictures

Damn! You are adventurous. Excellent. I look fwd to seeing more of your exploits with this puppy.

As for cleaning, I dunno, but I think I'd soak it overnight in Seafoam. It dissolves that kind of gunk.

The genuine Ford service manual is here: http://visualbits.net
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  #3  
Old 03-19-2014, 02:57 PM
Badmotorfinger1 Badmotorfinger1 is offline
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Default Re: 97 Head Gasket Replacement Project w/ Pictures

I would take your cylinders to a machine shop and have them check the decks for warpage. I'd hate to see you go through all that trouble to replace the HG only to blow it again due to a head deck that's out of spec.

Make sure you get new head bolts if they weren't included in the HG kit.
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Old 03-19-2014, 03:07 PM
rangerlocal rangerlocal is offline
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Default Re: 97 Head Gasket Replacement Project w/ Pictures

For one, you've stated you don't have much experience. Which is fine, but here's some words of warning.

1. That mystery liquid is coolant. It was entering the cylinder through the blown water jacket seal on the head gasket.
2. That foamy sludge is oil mixing with moisture from the leaking coolant. Brake cleaner and a brush with elbow grease is about all you can do.
3. As stated, get the heads decked from a machine shop and the valves lapped to the seats while you have it out. If the heads are warped, they will blow the new gasket.
4. Check block for squareness. Probably ok, but just like warped heads, if the block isn't square, you're in for a nightmare.
5. Replace the head bolts! They are one-time use only! Only torque the new ones once as well. Be sure to use an accurate torque wrench when doing the re-assembly, and torque in the right order. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL!
6. While it's apart, I would replace the lifters and the pushrods. They're just a couple bucks on RockAuto.com.
7. Again while I was in there, I'd change the lower intake manifold gasket. It's only another $10 and 15 minutes.
8. Be sure to use a new gasket on the upper intake manifold.
9. When everything is back together, flush the coolant and be sure to change the oil.
10. Check your water pump too to make sure the vanes aren't rusted away.
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Man wish i had tits, seems like its easier to get a job if you have tits.
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  #5  
Old 03-24-2014, 08:33 AM
Nylund Nylund is offline
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Default Re: 97 Head Gasket Replacement Project w/ Pictures

For some reason when we were putting it back together, when we got to the exhaust manifold, the new gasket wouldn't go around the opening when lined up with the screw holes so we thought it didn't fit, but when we lined it up with the old gaskets everything lined up perfectly??



EDIT: I feel very ashamed of both my father and I because of the discovery we just made after I posted this. Turns out we were trying to put it in upside down........I cannot believe that's the one thing we didn't try haha just shows that you need to take your time and not try to rush because we were putting everything back together and getting all giddy about testing it out that we didn't take the time to think clearly. Well I hope some of you get as good of a laugh as i did out of this

Last edited by Nylund; 03-24-2014 at 08:44 AM.
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  #6  
Old 03-24-2014, 04:08 PM
rangerlocal rangerlocal is offline
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Default Re: 97 Head Gasket Replacement Project w/ Pictures

So did you get the heads checked for warpage?
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Man wish i had tits, seems like its easier to get a job if you have tits.
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  #7  
Old 03-27-2014, 09:42 PM
Nylund Nylund is offline
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Default Re: 97 Head Gasket Replacement Project w/ Pictures

Quote:
Originally Posted by rangerlocal View Post
So did you get the heads checked for warpage?
Yes I did. Everything seemed to be fine they just cleaned them up nice for me. Actually finished putting everything together tonight and just tried to crank it one time really fast and it started right up where as before it was stuttering really bad and was hard to start!!!! So tomorrow we need to get some vaccum hose connectors that broke and we are gonna flush the coolant and change the oil and oil filter!
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  #8  
Old 03-28-2014, 06:52 PM
GLH GLH is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nylund View Post
Yes I did. Everything seemed to be fine they just cleaned them up nice for me. Actually finished putting everything together tonight and just tried to crank it one time really fast and it started right up where as before it was stuttering really bad and was hard to start!!!! So tomorrow we need to get some vaccum hose connectors that broke and we are gonna flush the coolant and change the oil and oil filter!
Thats freakin awesome Man !
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  #9  
Old 03-29-2014, 02:25 PM
Nylund Nylund is offline
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Default Re: 97 Head Gasket Replacement Project w/ Pictures

So far so good! Took it for a little spin around the block and everything seems fine! Runs very smooth and no leaks from anywhere and no smoke out of the pipe! Flushed the radiator with water then added coolant. And changing the oil tomorrow! Went ahead and drained the oil and it was brown! I'll post a picture when i can!
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  #10  
Old 03-29-2014, 02:33 PM
Greasemonkey51 Greasemonkey51 is offline
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Might wanna change the oil again after a little run time due to the gunky oil. Little run is like a hr or so and don't forget the filter also.
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  #11  
Old 03-29-2014, 02:35 PM
Nylund Nylund is offline
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Default Re: 97 Head Gasket Replacement Project w/ Pictures



and yeah that's what I was gonna do. change it and the filter tomorrow. then change it again on monday or tuesday when i get a chance!
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  #12  
Old 03-29-2014, 02:38 PM
Greasemonkey51 Greasemonkey51 is offline
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Originally Posted by Nylund View Post

and yeah that's what I was gonna do. change it and the filter tomorrow. then change it again on monday or tuesday when i get a chance!
Your alot braver then iam.
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  #13  
Old 03-29-2014, 03:05 PM
Nylund Nylund is offline
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Default Re: 97 Head Gasket Replacement Project w/ Pictures

I think you meant I am a lot dumber and more naive than you
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  #14  
Old 03-29-2014, 07:41 PM
GLH GLH is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nylund View Post
I think you meant I am a lot dumber and more naive than you
I would drain the gunky oil, drain the filter and put it back on, fill it up with cheap 30w oil, run it an hour or 2 and make sure it is good and warm, change the oil and filter with Motorcraft synthetic blend 5w20.
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  #15  
Old 03-29-2014, 08:18 PM
rangerlocal rangerlocal is offline
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Default Re: 97 Head Gasket Replacement Project w/ Pictures

+1000. That oil is thinned with the moisture in it. All you're doing is accelerating wear on the lifters, cam, and bearings by running that oil. Get a jug of wally world $12 conventional and the cheapest filer they have in supertech. Run it for a day or two, then change it with your oil of choice and motorcraft filter. The more you run that watered oil, the more you're hurting the engine you just fought to save.
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Man wish i had tits, seems like its easier to get a job if you have tits.
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