Blown head gaskets....What next?

#1
So I blew a head- gasket Saturday. Got the right head off yesterday, but will be replacing both sides at the same time. Luckily the pistons and bore look ok. I was up all night using the search function, but have a few questions.

(1) I had head studs already installed, But I believe I will be switching to arp head bolts. That thing was a bear to get off in the car with studs.

(2) from searching, I should go back with a felpro gasket to prevent any bottom end damage should this happen again. Is there a specific number gasket I should get or will the correct ones come in a gasket set?

(3) Buying a ported intake and heads is out of the question. I spent my fun money on paint and body work. Should I do anything to the intake or heads before I re-install? I don't wanna regret not doing it now while the heads are off Remove egr tower? touch up the intake and heads? Have the rocker mounts modified for roller rockers later? Cut exhaust guides for seals?

(4) I replaced the valve springs with heavy duty about 5 years ago. Should I replace them again or are the ok? I know only way to know for sure is with a gauge.

(5) should I do a cam? Or rockers now? The stock cam that is in there now looks beautiful. Don't know how long it will be before I upgrade from the TA49 turbo. (again, fun money-- Pretty paint job)

(6) Widely debated question on here....Which timing chain? This one has about 70k miles on it. Last time I had the pan down, I had some small plastic "stuff" from the cam gear in the bottom. So I'd like to go ahead and replace it while I'm this far in.

Anything I'm missing? I just don't want to put it back together and say to myself "fuck, why didn't I do this or that"


Obviously, after it back together ill go over it with a fine tooth comb to figure out why they blew in the first place
 

Attachments

#2
After doing the same thing you are doing, I said never again as I would pull the engine if I ever had to do it again.

Depends on the type of gasket you are going to install as to what to do next.

While you have the heads off, I would at least get them surface milled and springs checked.

If yours heads ERG port is not filled, I would not eliminate the tower on the intake just install a cover if you do not want to have it.
 

RUQWKNF

KEEPER OF SECRETS
Staff member
#3
These are my suggestions.

1. ARP bolts are fine. Just make sure you chase the threads with the correct style tap. Are your studs the type that don't have the Allen head key in the ends? If not keyed, ARP bolts for sure.

2. For years we would run the stock replacement Victor graphite gaskets. As the supply started to dry up and prices got crazy, the graphite Fel-Pro's got put in the game. Fel-Pro HS9441pt set is good to go. The Clevite Mahle 3777 I believe are the equivalent but don't quote me. Stick with graphite style and let them be your fuse.

3. Budget friendly, take some sand paper (course to fine) to the interior of the upper plenum, intake and t-body and smooth it the best you can. You will feel the rough areas. You can also razor edge the front edge of the t-body blade for a slight bump in performance and throttle response but not too much as it can change your minimum bleed air. IAC reset will be required if you port the t-body and blade. Try your best to gasket match and get the ports aligned as closely as possible on all parts when you install. This is critical. Get an RJC ADPP power plate asap for whatever plenum you are running. (If you don't already have one) Go back with a stock replacement either Clevite/Mahle or Fel-Pro metal valley pan gasket but make sure the inlet ports don't lay over into the runners. Trim if needed, but don't mess with the raised crush portion. You could have the EGR Tower welded shut, vs having it milled, but milling it out then welded and smoothed is the preferred way. Black rtv the rubber end pieces to the block and where they push into the corners. If the heads check out, have the pedistals cut for roller rocker clearnace, but it's a big guess without the rockers in hand. Check your rocker shafts and nylon buttons for signs of stress cracks, replace if necessary with HD shafts and new buttons. Inspect each rocker for stress cracks and abnormal wear patterns where the valve tip contacts the rocker. Get the RJC rocker shafts re-inforcement brace kit. Inspect all the coil springs closely, take them off now while it's easy. Have them tested if possible. Any competent machine shop can do this. Inspect and thoroughly clean the pushrods and check each one for straighteness. Replace if needed with better quality.

4. Have the springs checked, if low, as in 40-60#, replace. Assuming hydraulic flat tappet cam. At 5 years old, no matter if not run, they are worn and weak.

5. Inspect and clean each lifter one at a time. If you find any abnormal wear patterns, R&R the cam. And if you do replace it. Do a proper break in with plenty of zinc/phosphorus additive and either Brad Penn break in oil or Valvoline VR1.

6. Knowing you already have some toofies from the stock chain in the pan, definitely replace it right meow. Roll master has always been GTG, just don't reuse the tensioner and make sure you do reinstall the oil slinger and a new roller bearing thrust button. Inspect the front cover for signs of the stock button cutting a groove into the cover. You might need to replace it as well. Now is the time to go ahead and have your cam sensor upgraded with the kit from RCG. Don't forget the new neoprene front main seal if you keep the stock cover.

A few other things, replace your Serpentine belt if old, and check the tension on the belt tensioner. Replace if f needed, especially if it's original. Figure out what caused the fuse to blow and address the problem. And lastly, flush and clean everything as much as possible. I would go so far as to pull the pan, super clean the bottom end, replace the pickup tube and not use the factory oil cooler in the radiator, take the adapter off with it's attachment collar nut. Remove the oil feed line from the turbo and thoroughly clean it. If stock, invest in a oil filtration system so the turbo receives filtered out at all times. Good oil pan and valve cover gaskets from RJC as well. It's been awhile and I know I'm forgetting something stuff. But clean the heck out of everything.
Hope some of this helps.

-Patrick-
 
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#4
These are my suggestions.

1. ARP bolts are fine. Just make sure you chase the threads with the correct style tap. Are your studs the type that don't have the Allen head key in the ends? If not keyed, ARP bolts for sure.

2. For years we would run the stock replacement Victor graphite gaskets. As the supply started to dry up and prices got crazy, the graphite Fel-Pro's got put in the game. Fel-Pro HS9441pt set is good to go. The Clevite Mahle 3777 I believe are the equivalent but don't quote me. Stick with graphite style and let them be your fuse.

3. Budget friendly, take some sand paper (course to fine) to the interior of the upper plenum, intake and t-body and smooth it the best you can. You will feel the rough areas. You can also razor edge the front edge of the t-body blade for a slight bump in performance and throttle response but not too much as it can change your minimum bleed air. IAC reset will be required if you port the t-body and blade. Try your best to gasket match and get the ports aligned as closely as possible on all parts when you install. This is critical. Get an RJC ADPP power plate asap for whatever plenum you are running. (If you don't already have one) Go back with a stock replacement either Clevite/Mahle or Fel-Pro metal valley pan gasket but make sure the inlet ports don't lay over into the runners. Trim if needed, but don't mess with the raised crush portion. You could have the EGR Tower welded shut, vs having it milled, but milling it out then welded and smoothed is the preferred way. Black rtv the rubber end pieces to the block and where they push into the corners. If the heads check out, have the pedistals cut for roller rocker clearnace, but it's a big guess without the rockers in hand. Check your rocker shafts and nylon buttons for signs of stress cracks, replace if necessary with HD shafts and new buttons. Inspect each rocker for stress cracks and abnormal wear patterns where the valve tip contacts the rocker. Get the RJC rocker shafts re-inforcement brace kit. Inspect all the coil springs closely, take them off now while it's easy. Have them tested if possible. Any competent machine shop can do this. Inspect and thoroughly clean the pushrods and check each one for straighteness. Replace if needed with better quality.

4. Have the springs checked, if low, as in 40-60#, replace. Assuming hydraulic flat tappet cam. At 5 years old, no matter if not run, they are worn and weak.

5. Inspect and clean each lifter one at a time. If you find any abnormal wear patterns, R&R the cam. And if you do replace it. Do a proper break in with plenty of zinc/phosphorus additive and either Brad Penn break in oil or Valvoline VR1.

6. Knowing you already have some toofies from the stock chain in the pan, definitely replace it right meow. Roll master has always been GTG, just don't reuse the tensioner and make sure you do reinstall the oil slinger and a new roller bearing thrust button. Inspect the front cover for signs of the stock button cutting a groove into the cover. You might need to replace it as well. Now is the time to go ahead and have your cam sensor upgraded with the kit from RCG. Don't forget the new neoprene front main seal if you keep the stock cover.

A few other things, replace your Serpentine belt if old, and check the tension on the belt tensioner. Replace if f needed, especially if it's original. Figure out what caused the fuse to blow and address the problem. And lastly, flush and clean everything as much as possible. I would go so far as to pull the pan, super clean the bottom end, replace the pickup tube and not use the factory oil cooler in the radiator, take the adapter off with it's attachment collar nut. Remove the oil feed line from the turbo and thoroughly clean it. If stock, invest in a oil filtration system so the turbo receives filtered out at all times. Good oil pan and valve cover gaskets from RJC as well. It's been awhile and I know I'm forgetting something stuff. But clean the heck out of everything.
Hope some of this helps.

-Patrick-
dude thanks.

No my studs did not have the allen key hole. WTH. That's why it was such a PIA to get them off.

I just had the egr tower milled off today(thanks dad). And i'll do some light sanding on it.

So much to do, but at least its winter.
 
#6
Don't forget to look at oil to make sure you didn't beat the bearings out of the thing that was my first experience with these cars after knocking out the head gaskets
 

NY Twin Turbo

All the good stuff.....Times 2.
#7
After doing the same thing you are doing, I said never again as I would pull the engine if I ever had to do it again.

Depends on the type of gasket you are going to install as to what to do next.

While you have the heads off, I would at least get them surface milled and springs checked.

If yours heads ERG port is not filled, I would not eliminate the tower on the intake just install a cover if you do not want to have it.
Dude! I agree. Pull that engine out. Opens up a whole world of opportunity to get all kinds of things checked out and cleaned up real good. Especially if you have all winter.
 

larrym

West Coast Newfy
#8
Minimum drop the pan and clean the screen on the oil pick up plus the pan will have graphite in it.
Last thing you want is starve it of oil.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
 

Mr.Spool

Well-Known Member
#12
should I do a cam? Or rockers now? The stock cam that is in there now looks beautiful. Don't know how long it will be before I upgrade from the TA49 turbo.
i went 10s with a stock cam and a 49.if its mint leave it.change the cam if you decide to port the heads and intake and go bigger turbo so everything matches.especially since you have no more play money;)just button the car up and focus on the tune.
 

TexasT

Texas, Where are you from
#14
I'm not really understanding why you would pull both heads if only one cylinder blew out(My engine has the factory bolts on one side and studs on the other.)? A simple compression check would tell you. I guess i've not seen these "old" studs but a double nut on a stud should get em out even if you have to get some "thin" nuts. I've not done it but if it is that big a hassle get the newer kind to go back in with.

You say you are on a budget but are angling to replace the cam? But at 70k miles I would definitely be looking to replace the top gear at a minimum, and if the chain is stretched the chain too. The nylon coated obviously works, for a while, but the fancy stuff is nice too. I have the stock stuff in mine.

You might as well have a valve job done and replace the springs. You already have it all apart.

You list a powerlogger in the sig. I guess you weren't logging at the time of the incident?
Might look at the fuel pressure, fuel pump and filter and be watching the o2 a little more closely.
 
#15
i went 10s with a stock cam and a 49.if its mint leave it.change the cam if you decide to port the heads and intake and go bigger turbo so everything matches.especially since you have no more play money;)just button the car up and focus on the tune.

I wont be upgrading the cam. However, I did pull it, and it has some some slight wear on it. Not a measurable amount, but the lobes tips are not "polished" anymore. If that makes sense. Ive been reading and looks like many people have gone fast with the stock cam.
 
#16
I'm not really understanding why you would pull both heads if only one cylinder blew out(My engine has the factory bolts on one side and studs on the other.)? A simple compression check would tell you. I guess i've not seen these "old" studs but a double nut on a stud should get em out even if you have to get some "thin" nuts. I've not done it but if it is that big a hassle get the newer kind to go back in with.

You say you are on a budget but are angling to replace the cam? But at 70k miles I would definitely be looking to replace the top gear at a minimum, and if the chain is stretched the chain too. The nylon coated obviously works, for a while, but the fancy stuff is nice too. I have the stock stuff in mine.

You might as well have a valve job done and replace the springs. You already have it all apart.

You list a powerlogger in the sig. I guess you weren't logging at the time of the incident?
Might look at the fuel pressure, fuel pump and filter and be watching the o2 a little more closely.

It actually blew both headgaskets. The drivers side wanst totally blown. But the metal ring in the headgasket was egg shaped. I finally got the studs out.

no I was not logging at the time. wish I was. I have a lot of checking to do after its back together.
 
#17
It actually blew both headgaskets. The drivers side wanst totally blown. But the metal ring in the headgasket was egg shaped. I finally got the studs out.

no I was not logging at the time. wish I was. I have a lot of checking to do after its back together.
This is why you pull both heads! Had you not, the other cylinder would of let go at the worst possible time.
If the cam is showing wear you need to replace it now. New valve springs on an already dying cam is going to speed up its death and cause a fine metal powder to begin circulating through your engine. I made that mistake over 15 years ago. Now you have the engine out take your time, shop for deals on the parts you need to build it back the right way. You would be surprised at the deals you find at tax time.
 

dank GN

BlackArts Automotive (661)993-8277
#19
As stated you should do some porting on the heads while they are out . Just massage the short turns , match the intake manifold. Then take them to a machine shop to get a valve job and to make sure they are flat. I do understand you are on a budget but doing things right and spending the cash to do them right will save you money and time in the future. These motors definitely aren’t ones that like short cuts taken on them they will ether put a big smile on your face if you do it right or you will be one of the many that are just super frustrated and can never figure out why it’s never running right . Anyway this is just my opinion from working on these cars for 10+ years . Good luck
 

earlbrown

runs with scissors
#20
There's a lot of free HP bowl porting the heads.

If you cut the exhaust guides for seals, you need to replace the exhaust valves to get rid of the oil step on the stockers. If the seats are recessed, they'll need new seats installed. If the intake seats are recessed, a set of OS Ferras will get you back out to fresh meat.

On the intake gasket, don't use the one that's called for. Get the one that's missing the hole for the EGR port. That way exhaust can't even get to the intake to leak at one of those goofy block off plates.

On your timing chain, I'd go back with a stock set. Granted they're 'shitty plastic covered aluminium, but they last 125,000 miles or 30 years, which ever comes first. While the timing cover is off find the article I wrote with the oil mods and do those for more free upgrades.