Blown Head Gasket/cracked Head | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

  • Register Today It's free!

Blown Head Gasket/cracked Head


Well-Known Member
January 9, 2012
Reaction score
City, State
Chambersburg PA
Year, Model & Trim Level
'97 Explorer Sport
I have a '97 Sport with a 4.0 push rod motor. It has started getting antifreeze into the #4 cylinder. Now all the research tells me its either a bhg or a cracked head but no definitive answer as to how to diagnose without a tear down. My question is this: Do all the heads crack in the same spot, and is it a very visible spot? My biggest fear is that I pull the head off and all looks good, put it back together and have the same problem all over again. I have read many threads that say those heads have a weakness in the casting but does anyone know for sure where the weakness is? A pic might also be beneficial.

Any input is greatly appreciated!!


Join the Elite Explorers for $20 each year.
Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links,.
Add an avatar, upload photo attachments, and more!

There's really no way to tell if it's a blown head gasket
or cracked head short of a teardown. The fact of coolant
being in #4 gives the possibility of a leaking lower
intake gasket, because the coolant passages are on
each end of the heads.

The heads almost always crack between the valves,
since that's the weakest point in the casting.

It's not a hard job to remove the head, just time
consuming. It'll be easy to detect the problem since
you've already isolated it to #4 cylinder.

Many of us have gone through this, so help is only
a keystroke away...

Thanks for the response. Chances of it actually being the lower intake? Not with my luck. This thing has been one problem after another since I got it, but I am determined to make this thing work.

if you pull the head and don't see an obvious crack, there is a kit consisting of a dye and a powdery spray you can use to show it up, or a machine shop can magnaflux the head to find a crack.

Blown Head Gasket/Cracked Head *FIXED*

Well after about 3 hours of taking the heads off the truck, and finding no physical gasket damage, I found the culprit. Both heads were cracked in the usual area. Replaced them both and the truck runs a hell of a lot better.

Thanks for all the input guys!!!