Cracked Head Options | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Cracked Head Options


Active Member
February 10, 2014
Reaction score
City, State
Pottsboro, Texas
Year, Model & Trim Level
1996 Explorer 4.0 OHV
1996 Ford Explorer 2wd 4.0 300k miles
Driver side head is cracked between valves on number 4.

Rockers, rods, valves all still look good.

I'm thinking I should just buy 2 new heads.

My question is, can I buy bare heads and just installed my old rockers and valves in the new bare heads, or do I have to buy 2 complete heads (or 2 bare and all new valves, etc )?

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Just buy complete heads, its not worth the extra headache and possible valve/seat miss match. The rockers don't come with the heads, make sure the tips are all in good shape before reusing (they like to wear funny due to casting impurities).

The pushrods and lifters are prob fine but a good cleaning with lifter disassembly would be ideal

There is a guy on ebay selling the new heads for $400 complete. I wouldn't want to mess with compressing the springs and like boomin said lapping valves to the new head. I guess it depends on your budget and what a a few hours are worth to you. You would also want to get new valve stem seals.

I would have taken that route but the truck has rust, put K-seal in and it is fine so far. If the truck was rust free I would have repaired it the right way.

I messaged the guy last night about those complete heads for $400 - I dont mind lapping valves, putting in new seals. I just got finished last month rebuilding the top end of my accord, that was a nightmare (had to pull the v6 24 valve engine to do the work). I am on a tight budget, since I just unloaded all the cash on the accord. I was hoping it was only a head gasket, but I pulled both heads and saw the crack. Some tell me to just buy 1 head, but why risk it? The other will crack eventually. I would love to buy 2 complete heads for 400, but looking at 2 bare heads for 290.00 that is a bit of a difference..

So options, buy 2 new heads complete, done..
Buy 2 bare heads and what?

I checked out my valves.. Im just going with a completed set, not worth the time and hassle. I need almost all new valves. May as well get it all assembled.