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1996 OHV 4.0 Explorer Head/Head Gasket Replacement Question(s)

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Old 05-25-2012, 08:51 PM   #1
Abbondanza
Bronx, NY
1996 XLT 4.0 OHV 170k
 
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1996 OHV 4.0 Explorer Head/Head Gasket Replacement Question(s)

My head gaskets failed on my 1996 OHV 4.0 (big white smoke cloud from the exhaust 2-3 miles from my driveway, and there was the obvious milkshake on the oil cap). I got her home, shut her down, and ordered a new water pump, t-stat and complete gasket set from Rock Auto.

I had been losing coolant gradually for months before that, so I suspected the head gasket(s) or intake gasket was failing.

Of course anyone who has gone through this job knows that the exhaust manifold bolts are the killer, on a 96 truck, they are severely rusted/seized. I got four of them off, but after I rounded of the next two, I decided to attack the manifold to Y-pipe bolts as suggested on other posts. These are also severely rusted, I decided to dremel-cut the passenger side bolts, the driver's side outer bolt snapped in half under extreme torque, but after a long fight, the hardest bolt to reach, the inner drivers side bolt actually came out with a bolt-extractor socket (9/16th) which I used a 1/2" 25 inch extension to reach. I hammered it on to the head and it slowly twisted out.

So after fighting through that, I have both heads out with exhaust manifolds attached. I see no cracks in my heads (cast-iron) so I was not planning on replacing them...unless someone thinks (based on my description and the linked pictures below) that I definitely should??

I figured I will get the 3 pieces of bolts left in the manifold to pipe out of there and get replacement bolts to re-attach after I change out the gaskets.

Is it a bad idea to think I can put these heads back on? ALso, should I clean and/or lubricate the cylinder/piston heads? Any advice based on the pictures would be greatly appreciated, thanks in advance for your time!


























Last edited by Abbondanza; 11-13-2013 at 07:15 AM.
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Old 05-27-2012, 01:00 PM   #2
travsbengals
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I'm doing this exact same job on my 97 atm, your a few steps ahead of me though

Finally got the exhaust-to-manifold bolts out this morning on the passenger side, still have to do the driver's side, then remove the heads.

I'll be wondering the exact same thing as you, hopefully tomorrow. lol

I don't want to replace the heads either, at a cost of about $700 from what I could find for both. I'll be interested to see what some other people think as well, hopefully we can just use the old heads. Mine seem to look about the same as yours on top of the heads, but I haven't seen the bottoms yet
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Old 05-27-2012, 05:22 PM   #3
joe doe
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i see a crack .....between the intake and exhaust ports
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Old 05-28-2012, 08:38 AM   #4
travsbengals
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good eyes joe
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Old 05-28-2012, 12:03 PM   #5
Abbondanza
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wow Thanks Joe!..Definitely good eyes! I'll be ordering new heads, although I saw prices in the $225-275 per head range (new/complete w valves) not $700+ that you've seen Bengal...

I've looked all over these heads, I can't seem to find the 95tm casting code, I've looked by the spark plug holes, I have, however, found the 'U' casting mark that I've read means the 95tm or 97tm (identical) heads. Is it possible the heads don't have the '9Xtm' marking?

I'll be ordering new heads and exhaust manifolds (manifolds form Rockuto).

Thanks again!
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Old 05-28-2012, 01:20 PM   #6
joe doe
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Alabama cylinder heads usually has good prices .

https://www.alabamacylinderhead.com/




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Old 05-28-2012, 01:29 PM   #7
travsbengals
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I just stripped a exhaust-to-manifold bolt, drivers side, closest to the motor. I actually got the other 3 out but it was a pain, stripped the last freakin bolt

:facepalm:

I guess I'm going to go try to find a bolt extractor I can use

any suggestions?
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Old 05-28-2012, 02:14 PM   #8
Abbondanza
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Originally Posted by joe doe View Post
Alabama cylinder heads usually has good prices .

https://www.alabamacylinderhead.com/
I read that only they make the 98tm head with the smaller exhaust ports?
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Old 05-28-2012, 02:17 PM   #9
Abbondanza
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Originally Posted by travsbengals View Post
I just stripped a exhaust-to-manifold bolt, drivers side, closest to the motor. I actually got the other 3 out but it was a pain, stripped the last freakin bolt

:facepalm:

I guess I'm going to go try to find a bolt extractor I can use

any suggestions?
I used a 9/16th extractor socket, pounded it on the bolt with a 25 inch extension, she gave after that, then I used an impact to get it the rest of the way
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Old 05-28-2012, 07:00 PM   #10
travsbengals
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Thanks Abbon, I finally got the thing off there

I can't get the head off now because the bracket on the oil dipstick tube is too big to fit through the small opening between the manifold and the head.

Obviously I already took the nut off holding the dipstick on near where the EGR tube was. I pulled and pulled on the dipstick tube and the thing won't come out. Am I missing something? I don't wanna break the tube. Also, should I drain the oil before I get the dipstick tube out?

Thanks guys
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Old 05-28-2012, 07:10 PM   #11
Abbondanza
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Thanks Abbon, I finally got the thing off there

I can't get the head off now because the bracket on the oil dipstick tube is too big to fit through the small opening between the manifold and the head.

Obviously I already took the nut off holding the dipstick on near where the EGR tube was. I pulled and pulled on the dipstick tube and the thing won't come out. Am I missing something? I don't wanna break the tube. Also, should I drain the oil before I get the dipstick tube out?

Thanks guys
I went through the same thing...you have to get the head up in the air and the tube will come with it out of the hole it's in, then you can manuever the tube out of the gap between the head and the manifold.

Yes it is rough to wrestle that weight up and out but it can be done.

I haven't drained my oil yet.
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Old 05-28-2012, 09:38 PM   #12
travsbengals
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Thanks boss, I'll give it a shot tomorrow when I get home from work
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Old 05-29-2012, 09:39 PM   #13
Abbondanza
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Just ordered my heads from Clearwater Cylinder Heads, $480 for the pair shipped
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Old 05-29-2012, 10:50 PM   #14
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That's a great price, does it come with valves?

I got the other head off today, I don't see any cracks or visible warping. I'm gonna take them to a machine shop and see if they are cracked or warped and go from there I guess.

I'm not sure if it was already there or drained out of the heads when I wrestled them off, but 3/6 of my pistons had a good amount of anti-freeze laying on them. Good amount of carbon buildup as well, can I clean the top of the pistons with Acetone or something? or should I even bother?
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Old 05-29-2012, 11:37 PM   #15
Abbondanza
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That's a great price, does it come with valves?

I got the other head off today, I don't see any cracks or visible warping. I'm gonna take them to a machine shop and see if they are cracked or warped and go from there I guess.

I'm not sure if it was already there or drained out of the heads when I wrestled them off, but 3/6 of my pistons had a good amount of anti-freeze laying on them. Good amount of carbon buildup as well, can I clean the top of the pistons with Acetone or something? or should I even bother?
Yes it is complete with valves...yes definitely get them checked.

I asked the same thing about cleaning the cylinders, I would say obviously soak up coolant thats in the cylinders and try to clean the carbon as much as you can with somethng like brake cleaner spray

Last edited by Abbondanza; 06-10-2012 at 08:04 PM.
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Old 05-29-2012, 11:37 PM   #16
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I see head gasket leaking also. Your going to love your motor when you have it back together. Your restoring a ton of low end power.

Interested in your progress Are you going to pull those lifters apart and soak them in acitone for a few days? A good clean, fill with oil, and reassemble will help make sure they dont start sticking. . Make sure they stay as mated pairs when they come apart. Not a requirement, but if you have the time.

You will need to make sure the gasket surfaces are clean, and make sure you vacuum all loose carbon out of the bores before rotating the main assembly. if you can loosen and remove any carbon without scratching anything, do so.

Just before reassembly, oil the bores with a clean rag, and use something like brake cleaner on a rag on both sealing surfaces on the head and block.

Oh, and for manifold studs, I just went to a bolt supply house and picked up bolts. I used antisieze on them (and most other bolts) before reassembly.

You have it apart, so now its clean, prep, and reassemble. cleaning and prep takes the longest. If you can get it apart, thr rest is easy.




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Old 05-29-2012, 11:42 PM   #17
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Is your front main showing oil seepage? while the rads out, nows the time. Mine was starting seep oil pretty bad. Thing is, its tough getting that bolt out, and you are best to purchase a new one as its torque to yield, like head bolts.




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Old 05-29-2012, 11:51 PM   #18
Abbondanza
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I see head gasket leaking also. Your going to love your motor when you have it back together. Your restoring a ton of low end power.

Interested in your progress Are you going to pull those lifters apart and soak them in acitone for a few days? A good clean, fill with oil, and reassemble will help make sure they dont start sticking. . Make sure they stay as mated pairs when they come apart. Not a requirement, but if you have the time.

You will need to make sure the gasket surfaces are clean, and make sure you vacuum all loose carbon out of the bores before rotating the main assembly. if you can loosen and remove any carbon without scratching anything, do so.

Just before reassembly, oil the bores with a clean rag, and use something like brake cleaner on a rag on both sealing surfaces on the head and block.

Oh, and for manifold studs, I just went to a bolt supply house and picked up bolts. I used antisieze on them (and most other bolts) before reassembly.

You have it apart, so now its clean, prep, and reassemble. cleaning and prep takes the longest. If you can get it apart, thr rest is easy.
Thanks much for the advice, This is my first ever venture this deep into an engine, I've only replaced fuel pumps, IAC valves, Steering Rack, Ball Joints, tie rods, sway bar bushings and shocks before this...

So basically, I will love it if it just starts up and runs smooth again for me!
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Old 05-29-2012, 11:59 PM   #19
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You will be fine. like I said, you were already able to get it apart.
Make sure your gasket surfaces are really clean. you can get surface prep attachments that fit a dremmel tool. Scotch brite works, but is slow going.




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Old 05-30-2012, 09:51 AM   #20
Abbondanza
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I have a ryobi finishing sander with the triangle head, was thinking of using that on the block surface and the water pump mating surface to clean them up.

How coarse can the grains be? Would 60 grit be too abrasive? Don't want to ruin the mating surface(s).
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1996 OHV, cylinder heads, exhaust manifold, head gasket, intake gasket
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