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Another 5.0L Miss Thread

410Fortune

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I first put NGK Irridium plugs in my BII when I did the 5.0L
Bad idea, ran perfect for a long time, but one year later started to stumble a bit at idle, this is running 85-87 octane with Ethenol so its not all the plugs fault...

I am back to OEM plugs on all my 5.0L's, I think I will try good ol copper ones next time.....Denver altitude and pump gas loves to mess with your trucks engine/computer/spark plugs/cat converters
 



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Cali' Explorer

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Well, I went and got a set of Autolite Copper Resistor plugs. I know that these don't have the lifespan of the Double Platinums, but while I'm trying to diagnose my problem, I'd rather replace a $1 plug then a $4 - $5 plug.

I also ordered the CMP tool... $26 at Autozone, you just have to make sure you bring them the OTC Part number (OTC-6469 I believe). It looks like I was looking at the wrong instructions so I got the CMP of 180*. So its possible I did resolve my issue, but futz it up by putting the CMP on wrong. We will see next Monday when I go back down.

I'm still keeping my fingers crossed that I didn't kill something with the overheating, but it seemed ot be running ok, so we'll see.
 






Cali' Explorer

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Well, some bad news and some good news (aint it funny how the world works).

I went back and checked on the oil first in the X. There definitely wasn't any milky look to it. I then decided to pull the oil fill tube out, when pulling this out, it was full of milky looking froth. I then dumped the oil pan. The oil came out looking a little thinner then normal, but I didn't get an immediate dump of water. Swirling the oil in the pan, there did seem to be a little bit of water in it, but not much.

I then thought back to when I dumped the pan after the re-install and remembered that I thought it was odd that I had dropped coolant when removing the Upper Intake and Cylinder Heads, but there was no coolant anywhere in the oil when I drained it. Well, I think either the coolant that was in there got trapped in the engine somewhere or was pumped into the oil filter and lifter channels when I was setting the Roller Rockers.

In any case, I kept burping the system and it never seemed to fill. I then noticed after a short drive around the block after which I parked the X and let it idle that was I getting a rather large and steady stream of bubbles into the overflow tank. Looks like I have a Cylinder Head Leak.

I've been trying to backtrace how this could have happened and there doesn't seem to be one key element in it. I did talk with ARP about the bolts and they mentioned that while their spec card says to tighten all the bolts to 65 ft-lbs., they actually recommend 65 on the lower bolts and 70 on the upper bolts.

At this point I'm at a crossroads. I have to tear the engine down to the cylinder heads at minimum. A number of people have recommended that I just re-torque the Cylinder Head bolts and (since I haven't put many miles on it) it should seal right back up. My concern is that as time goes on, I have less and less free time (and have eaten up more and more of my vacation weekends of from school). I keep going back and forth on whether or not I should just tear it all the way back down again and replace the gaskets one more time.

From what I understand, the ARP Bolts are not Torque to Yield bolts, and as such can be re-used 3 - 4 times. This would mean all I would be out is another set of cylinder head gaskets and another lower intake manifold gasket (as well as perhaps another upper intake manifold gasket). It will obviously take me significantly more time to do this then just tightening the bolts as I will have to rescrape everything and clean it all thouroughly again, although this time I think I might be able to get some help which should make the process go more smoothly.

Does anyone have any suggestions on this or has had a similar situation. My Fiance makes a good argument that I've got more chance for success with installing new gaskets, but I just don't know for sure as I can do it without the gaskets in less than 1/2 the time.

Another question too... I noticed that Ford Motorsports makes a set of Cylinder Head Gaskets that appear to have some sort of sealing surface (I believe its teflon) integrated into the Cylinder Head Gasket that surrounds all Water and Oil Pathways in the Cylinder Head. The one thing I noticed is that the water passages are blocked differently then I remember the X's 5.0 gaskets being. Specifically, the GT40P Heads have holes for coolant at either end of the cylinder head and these gaskets only had holes at one end of each gasket. I have read in a couple of places that this is to force the water to flow one direction through the engine block and cylinder heads, but I'm not sure. Does anyone have any experience with this?
 






Turdle

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You sure are dealing with this well, better than I would, but then I hate stress. I commend you.
At this point, just to eliminate a second teardown, I'd have to say new gaskets. Also, everything I've read says 80ftlbs for the bottom, 85 for the top head bolts. Anybody?
 






Cali' Explorer

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JTSmith-
Well, you are partially right. According to the specs, if you use ARPs' Moly Lube and their Sealant, you are supposed to torque them to 65 and 70 Respectively due to the lower friction characteristics of their Moly Lube. If you are using Oil on the threads, you are supposed to torque them to 80 and 85 respectively.
 






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Cali' Explorer said:
JTSmith-
Well, you are partially right. According to the specs, if you use ARPs' Moly Lube and their Sealant, you are supposed to torque them to 65 and 70 Respectively due to the lower friction characteristics of their Moly Lube. If you are using Oil on the threads, you are supposed to torque them to 80 and 85 respectively.

I told this to my engine builder ( Jack Simmons), he looked at me cross eyed.
lol
 






Cali' Explorer

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JTSmith-
Trust me, I'm getting a little cross-eyed with all this. There doesn't seem to be one consensus on how to do it, and that's part of the problem with it. That and the lack of information for Explorer 5.0's specifically. While most stuff is identical on the Explorer 5.0's, every once and a while there's one minor difference that causes all sorts of problems *grumble*.

As for the Torques, I'm figuring ARP Makes the bolts, they do nothing but that, so they know what they are doing. Of course, I've been proven wrong before.
 






Bill MacLeod

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It would be nice to know exactly where the leak is. A cylinder head leakdown could be benefical to you.

Not sure what you used for gaskets, but I would get Felpro 8548-PT2 for the head gaskets and Felpro 1250 for the lower intake. Available from Summit or Advanced Auto.

Carefully check each surface out when you tear it down. Try and see/find exactly where the leak is and maybe post back what you find.

Just my thoughts here.
 






Cali' Explorer

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Bill-
Well, I've talked to so many now and everyone gives me a different suggestion. At this point, according to ARP, they have had problems with setting the top bolts to 65 ft-lbs. and recommend 70 ft-lbs. on the top bolts with the cast iron heads (when using the ARP Moly Lube).

I'm also going to be getting some help from my dad. He's not as up on the newer engines, but is used to building high HP motors back in the day (His DD Twin Turboed 454 Camaro is still running strong almost 15 years after he sold it). He's going to be coming down to help me with this. At the suggestion of a few individuals, we're going to try just torquing down the bolts to proper spec again first and see what happens. With the 2 of us it shouldn't take more then 2 - 3 hours to do. We'll run Compression Tests before and after to see if there was an obvious cylinder that was leaking and if the leak continues afterwards. We'll then start it up and watch it closely.

If the leak continues, I will have already bought new head gaskets and a lower intake gasket (I've heard that with how little I have run the engine, the upper intake gaskets should be fine, but I have some spares anyways). We will just go ahead and tear it all the way back down and replace the gaskets and look for what caused the leak.

From what I can tell, it must be a very small leak. If I just let the engine idle, the water goes no where and there is no bubbles etc in the water. The only tmie I start getting bubbles and losing water is if I start getting into the throttle a little more. I'm really hoping that the high pressure from more acceleration is what's causing it to leak when it does. But if not, we're prepared to spend the rest of the weekend to tear it back down and do it all back up again.

I calculated how much time it took me the first time to get it back together and it took about 28 hours... but a lot of that was spent on trying to get 5 - 10 bolts back in their awkward spots, or spending lots of time on big heavy items and wrestling things or trying to modify parts to clear for either the rockers, the new valve covers or the intake spacer. I'm guessing that with the 2 of us and having already torn it down once, the whole process should take a little more then a day to do a complete teardown and rebuild. But we will see.

I will also be writing up a diary on my trials and tribulations through this process along with as much information as I can on all the various things I have found out from different manufacturers, other forums, etc... to help others with this process in the future.
 






410Fortune

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it will go much quicker this time, the learning curve is over....

Good luck!
 






Cali' Explorer

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This is very true. And my biggest fear is over, the X actually started. Through the whole process I was concerned that either the X wouldn't start or I'd go to fire it up and I'd get a nice "Clunk... clunk... BOOOOM!".

I'll keep you posted, but nothing will be happening at this point until July 21 when I go down next *grumble*.
 






V8BoatBuilder

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I used oil and torqued to 80lbs, I also used the Fel-Pro head gaskets that Autozone stocks. I believe they are the standard 8548-PT2.

Good luck!
 






Cali' Explorer

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For the Gaskets, I don't know the specific part number as I bought the Cylinder Head Rebuild Kit that came with upper and lower intake, valve covers, exhaust manifolds and Cylinder Head gaskets.
 












Cali' Explorer

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Things are going ok. Haven't had a chance to get back down to the Bay Area to work on the X for the last few weeks. I'm planning on going down the Weekend of August the 4th to try retorquing all the head bolts and see if that solves the issue.

On a side note, I'm in the process of Acquiring a New Old vehicle. Its kind of funny, its a vehicle I used to own before I moved out for school, and I am basically getting for about $300 (the cost to get it running again and register it). Its a 1984 Military Blazer. Runs great, 6.2L Diesel, 26,600 original miles. When I sold it, the thing was great, but the other owner threw a U-Joint and never replaced it. So I had the U-Joints replaced and the Driveshaft balanced and had to put in 2 new batteries. Seems to be running AOK, now I just have to transfer it and I'm good to go.

This should make working on the X easier as I can now get down to work on the X without needing to bring the Fiance down with me (She's been busy with work lately, so we haven't been able to head down).

I will of course give you guys notice of what happens the next time I go down to work on the X. Thanks.
 






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Well, a somewhat small update and some success (notice the keyword "some").

This Saturday I was down in the Bay Area again. Tore the engine back down to the cylinder heads. I then backed each Cylinder Head bolt off and retorqued them (I did this after draining the radiator). After retorquing all the bolts (A couple were a little too easy to loosen), I re-installed all the top stuff, checking the torque on the lower inake and re-installing the upper intake and exhaus manifolds, etc...

After getting it all together, I decided to only fill it with water first as I've gone through about $50 in coolant over the last 6 months, and I didn't want to have to store more used coolant... 3 buckets is quite enough. I started the X up and let it idle while topping off the coolant. Things seemed to be going ok.

I next took it for a test drive around the block. Got back and popped the cap again to refill more coolant (these things are a pain to bleed, ehh?). I then jumped in and decided to take a trip on the freeway. Temperature stayed dead even the whole way on the freeway and back (took about a 20 mile round trip). Heater was blasting nice and hot (Hotter then normal thanks to only having water in the cooling system, better heat conductor). I got back from the 20 mile freeway run and popped my hood... to my dismay I again found bubbles a churnin' in the coolant overflow reservoir. *crud*

After all was said and done, I decided to risk driving the X home. I've been without a car for 2 1/2 months now, and with school starting in 4 weeks, there's no way I'll have time to get back down to the Bay Area again and redo everything again. So, I figured I will bring it home, monitor the coolant issue, get some miles on some of the new parts in the engine and if the coolant issue doesn't resolve itself shortly, I will go ahead and take it to a shop to replace the head gaskets again (Admitting defeat, I know... *grumble*).

A couple of weird things though. While I get a steady stream of bubbles in the coolant reservoir, I had absolutely no overheating problems on the 100 mile trip home. I was on the freeway going about 70 - 75 the whole way and the needle was dead steady. Another weird thing. I went to check the radiator before leaving... This was about half an hour after my freeway trip. The engine was still hot (as it usually is after a long run like that). But more surprising was that the cooling system still had a large amount of pressure in it (the upper radiator hose was still nice and stiff). I was under the impression that if you had a head gasket leak, this pressure would slowly bleed off into the offending location.

Now I'm thinking either the cylinder head leak is so small that it only shows itself when the engine is at higher RPM and producing more heat.... orrrr...... there's something else going on (Like a faulty radiator cap for example).

The X starts and runs fine otherwise, no smoke, steam, water in the oil, etc... The only other weird thing besides the bubbles in the reservoir is that the resorvoir has an odd smell, kind of like fuel, but not quite.

Out of curiousity, anyone with a V8 X who has had a head gasket leak, how much did the shop charge you to do it? I'm normal an avide believer in working on your own car, but at this point, with no house/garage to work on the X and 2 failed attempts to get it to seal right, I think I'm admitting defeat (at least for the time being).
 






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If I remember right, this whole thing was a long terrm buildup of coolant from a small leak, which caused a misfiring.
You know darn good and well by now you did everything right, and BTW hung in there thru some serious stress.I don't want to add to it but I am now wondering if the engine block has a small crack?
I would read the spark plugs for evidence the problem is at the same cylinders.
Just an easy suggestion to weed out a difficult problem
 






V8BoatBuilder

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I was quoted about $1,500 from my local dealer, and about $1,000 from a local shop that I trust. I'm not sure having someone else re-do your work is a wise move at this point, you might be throwing money at a shop and the truck will be the same. You already know how to do (and did) it yourself.

If it was my engine, I would do a leakdown test on each cylinder to find out where it is leaking before I did anything else.

It would suck, but jtsmith might be right about a cracked block. Again, DO A LEAKDOWN TEST!!!
 






Cali' Explorer

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JTSmith-
Well, your sort of right. Up until replacing the Cylinder Heads, I had absolutely no coolant or cylinder leaks at all. The X has never lost any coolant, has never overheated, blown white smoke, etc...

The only problem I had was a lack of power which reads (based on the spark plugs) as "Too Hot" from the back of the Haynes Manual. While one of the possibilities is poor cooling, up until the Cylinder Head replacement I have never had a problem with X using coolant or overheating. I've regular taken trips towing trailers with A/C blowing in over 100* heat without the guage moving an inch. All of these issues have started since I pulled the Cylinder Heads and put them back in.

I would guess at this point that my next step will have to be a Leak Down test. I will probably need to take the X to a shop to do this as I don't have a leak down tester or access to shop air to inject. I'll probably give a couple of shops here a call to see who will work on it. The hardest part is I know nothing of the shops in this area and as of yet, have been dissapointed by the quality of all the shops out here. I may try to invest in the help of one of my car buddies though... maybe he can help me with this, haha.

Also, as for re-doing the job again... While I could physically do it, I don't have the time or location to do it at this point. I've been having to work on the X about 100 miles from home on weekends. It is particular hard to work on something that's 100 miles away when you have no car to get to it, haha. But, we'll see. At this point the X is up here in Sac, maybe I can find a friend with some room who would be willing to work with me for a week or so while I work on the X to get it running.
 



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Cali' Explorer

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Well, another short update. I started calling around to various shops out here that work on Domestic vehicles (Wow, there aren't very many, are there?). I got several price quotes from companies which all seemed to be in roughly the same ballpark ($750 - $850 in labor + cost of parts).

I decided to go with a company that was recommended to me over on CAFords called "Corfees Car Care". They don't really advertise much, but I was very impressed in talking with the individual on the phone and even more impressed when I went to his shop. He has a large shop with approximately 8 Hydraulic lifts. Had about 50 cars in and around the shop including 2 Ferraris, a couple of Mercedes and some other very exotic cars.

He ended up using a 4 Gas Analyzer to check for HC, etc... in the coolant. After running the test he came back and told me the bad news *grumble*. According to his tester, at idle the engine puts nothing into the coolant (read, 0 ppm). Right after touching the throttle it jumps up to 43 PPM. Accoriding to him, a "Normal" head gasket leak on a 5.0 Fod is about 10 - 30 PPM. And that, from his experience, with numbers as high as 43 and the fact that it completely dissapears after letting off the throttle, he's found its typically a cracked Cylinder Head.

At this point, I'm going to take it back to him on Monday and leave it there for a few days. They're going to do a tear down to the Cylinder Heads and remove them and have them rechecked for Cracks. According to him, the place that the cracks usually occur are in a place that most shops don't check very well (near the Valve Seats). So, that's where we're at for now. It will stink to have another $1000 - $1500 gone (depending on what he finds), but on the flip side, if I had been doing it myself and it was a Cracked Head, I could replace gaskets for days and never resolve the issue.

Ahh well, you live and learn. Moral of the story, cheaper isn't always better... and if you get a bad feeling about a place, don't go there, haha.But as always, I'll keep you posted of what I find.
 






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