Doing a headgasket on 98 exp 5.0 | Page 2 | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Doing a headgasket on 98 exp 5.0

Hows the motor coming along?

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ok here is the update. I guess you can call this an update. When I got the new shortblock in installed it to the tranny.. that was not too bad, ran the converter nuts on along with the bellhousing bolts and other odds and ends. I installed the heads and everything else and BAM water still came out the oil pan.. I nearly lost it. So I trailered it last week from northern cal to Southern cal and Finally investigated WTF. I yanked the lower intake and refilled the motor with water until it came up to the corner water ports on the heads to see if it would hold water or still leak out the oil pan.. sure enough still water pissing out the oil pan.. so I said okay.. so I pulled the driver side spark plugs and all of them were soaked. HERE is the funny but stupid find...I never torqued the head bolts on the driver side.. i guess I snugged them but never torqued them.. WHAT A IDIOT!! I have worked on windsor motors for over 10 years now and this is the 1st time I made a bone head mistake like this.. so today I yanked the head, had it cleaned, cleaned the block surface off and re-installed the driver side head and TORQUED it this time. got everything around the head bolted up.. the only thing i need to do is install the lower.. I will install the lower tomorrow and possibly the upper and fill the cooling system again and check for leaks with the oil pan plug out. OR I MIGHT rent a cooling system pressure checker and do it that way..if it does not leak (or hold pressure) then all will be good (hopefully)... this explorer has been one big damn headache and cannot wait to fire this pig up and drive it.. this has been nearly a 2 month nightmare and I may have this all solved but I do not want to go toot my own horn yet. I hate them damn stock headers/manifolds. I wonder if GT40P MAC shorty headers would work if they were dimpled at all... as far as mating to the Y-pipe.. thats the easy part.. the hard part is to see if they would fit in the engine bay.. I am so curious about that. Anyways... I will send you all a follow up tomorrow night with more progress and hopefully DONE! Peace!

I am about to appear on Nancy Grace by murdering this explorer. I got the head TORQUED on and intake bolted back on and everything else bolted up properly.. STILL got freakin water coming out of the oil pan.. but now it is very slightly.. THE only items still on the motor from the previous blown setup is the timing cover and the intake manifold.

On Monday I am receiving a new GT 40 lower from Mustangsunlimited that ran me 150 bones (ford wanted 700 dollars) :rolleyes:

I am gonna order a new timing cover from Autozone for 88 bucks. I am at my last nerves on this explorer and if these next 2 part swaps do not do the trick then I am pushing this thing off into a local canal or will see what a car fire looks like. I have worked on this thing so much that I am nearly working on this thing blindfolded. AND I am in the hottest part of the country
(92227), not the most humid but definately the hottest and its sucks to work on it during the day and its not even HELLA HOT out here yet.

Well, wish me luck and will keep ya'll posted, peace!

Does this engine have the oil cooler, filter housing? With the lower radiator hose going into the oil filter adpater then to water pump?

I wonder if it could be cracked in the heat exchange area?


oil cooler is gone. the shortblock i got from 50resto has the oil filter housing different from the explorer block so i ****-canned the stock oil cooler and ran a oil filter relocation kit and a lower radiator hose for a non oil cooler 5 liter... so i know thats not the issue. :D

i just got in a new water pump for my 03 Cobra so it looks like my primary vehicle gets attention first. next weekend i will add the intake and timing cover to the new motor in the exp. peace.

this sucks, sort of

Well, with the motor completely assembled I took off the timing cover to see if this was the cause of everything (water in oil pan) and sure enough there was a got-damn pin hole on the timing cover right next to where the impeller of the water pump is. That whole area was so corroded that I overlooked the pin hole. You can see on the back side (timing chain) of the cover where there is a water dribble stain from the water leak and the timing chain has surface rust. thank god for the find but also ****ty that I spent money on a new shortblock but at least the motor is new as can be now..


anyone with near 100k miles might want to check your coolant. It turned out the people that owned the explorer let the coolant get so bad it became a acid and ate that timing cover away til a pin hole developed.

OK.. water FINALLY HOLDS and no more water out of oil pan!!!!!!!! However when I removed the cam sensor (the capless distributor) from the old motor I did not realize the uh oh's of doing so. So I ordered me a new positioning tool to get this thing back in timing.. tomorrow hopefully it will be done!! peace

THIS THING WILL NOT START... i am throwing fits.. tried the timing thing like 8 times. fuel pressure is good (40psi), rockers adjusted individually at 22ftlbs at base circle, all is hooked up and connected. i am wondering if the damn cam position sensor went bad when i initially tried to start it when it was out of the correct position. its sounds like it wants to but doesn't. it gets spark and fuel. maybe a sensor. check back later. peace!

The cam synchronizer shouldn't go out from anything you did, it is only a magnetic pickup. Are you sure the engine was at TDC on the compression stroke? I know that it's a pain, you have to either see the valvetrain or test for pressure on the #1 cylinder.

The cam synchronizer shouldn't go out from anything you did, it is only a magnetic pickup. Are you sure the engine was at TDC on the compression stroke? I know that it's a pain, you have to either see the valvetrain or test for pressure on the #1 cylinder.

thanks for a reply. What I did was pulled the number 1 plug. I had the wife put her finger on the spark plug hole and I turned the crank from underneath with a breaker bar and the wife would feel the pressure as it would approach TDC and then I would have her look at the balancer and then have it set at 0 TDC then I would follow the directions properly and use the tool and drop in the cam position sensor and put it all back together and as I go to crank it with the key you can hear it studder a lil but nothing promising to wanting to start. It gets spark, it gets fuel. I am at a loss for words. I have assembled several Windsor motors without hitch and this distributorless setup seems to be pissing me off....if thats the whole problem. The motor is getting oil pressure because when I went to readjust the rockers there was oil ontop of the rocker arms that was not there when I initially set them. Me and the wife did that procedure at least 3 seperate times with no luck. I am leaning to say the sensors are good because when i bought this explorer with water in the oil... the SOB was running.
QUESTION: the spark plug hole should not create any compression when i am coming up on the exhaust stroke right??? so the finger over the hole and feeling the compression will not be possible on a exhaust stroke, right?

Look at it this way...You could always rotate the crank a full 360 from where you are now and try again. Then you know you have tried it both ways in case your finger is wrong. ;)

Hey...I understand your frustration completely. I am having to pull my transmission for the 3rd time now and am without a vehicle as I was in an accident the other week with what was my primary vehicle and is now totaled. Not only that, but I am really still too sore to be laying on the ground doing this. I can't seem to find a shop that wants to work on something modified, so I am stuck to battling it out.

You may want to pull the plugs to make sure they aren't fouled. My truck wouldn't start the other day and I had to wait a little for the plugs to dry out some. The computer has to learn the engine for a few minutes after you start it and then it gets better, but getting is started the first time can easily flood or cause other issues when things aren't just right. A little vacuum leak can cause a lot of grief too.

I have another thread going where Don has been replying also. Sometimes it just helps to know someone is listening...right? :) You'll get it.

Yes, you have timed it correctly, it is that simple. So the problem is something else, or some component isn't working. I'd look harder at all of the wiring and connectors, the plug wire order on the coil packs. We have all had that kind of thing happen, and it usually ends up being a small mistake. Keep looking, since it ran just recently you should be very close.

When i swapped in my new motor i thought i took my time, but didn't start. My problem, Intake leak, big time. I'd check all the intake gaskets, vacuum hoses, etc.


When i swapped in my new motor i thought i took my time, but didn't start. My problem, Intake leak, big time. I'd check all the intake gaskets, vacuum hoses, etc.


i hate you with those headers u have. ok.. all the firing orders are correct, both wiring to the spark plugs and plug wires to the coil packs..

This is what i did today.. i pulled all plugs out.. and HOLY HELL.. talk about blacker than a mo fo.. LOL there was so mch fuel on them I nearly laughed my ass off. The only plug that was not so bad was the number one plug that was pulled out several times... I will also get new wires because plugs and wires are the 2 items that were left over from the old motor.. :thumbdwn:

I am praying to god that this all helps.. All the vacuum hoses are good, trust me.. with doing several intakes on Mustangs.. I know not to forget any and all vacuum hones that get tinkered with.
A lil refresher on the vacuum hoses...I disconnect the brake booster hose from the brake booster... there is the hose that goes under the intake that connects to the front and goes to the back and Y's off and is the PCV and rear intake connection. Then there is the RED vaccum hose that disconnects from the PCV or Fuel regulator and thats all I remove to get the upper off (as far as vacuum hoses).
This explorer is so damn nice that I cannot wait to drive it.. My 03 Cobra has 96k Miles and the blower bearing are going out and I need to park it so I am crossing my fingers to solve this problem with the explorer within the next day or to.. I will be back!!!! KILL

when it rains, IT PISSES

compression check yielded 30 - 50 psi in cylinder number 1. so i went to cylinder number 7.. same result.. now we're getting somewhere as far as the no starting.. pulled the upper and lower intake back off...undid the valvetrain and pulled the pushrods.. and HOLY HELL 6 BENT pushrods..

any ideas why??? I am lost.. i should not need a different length pushrod right??? I even pulled the DAMN timing cover off to assure proper timing chain placement and it was correct... so that was a waste of my time.

i am lost in outter space on this one.. i almost cried today over this.. FRUSTRATION set in today like a MMOFO.

I read through that link. Without going through this again, so it's basically stock with new pistons and springs? I'd look really hard at the valve springs for coil binding. The other things shouldn't do that on basically a stock Explorer 302. A bigger cam or off timed cam or taller piston may bend pushrods. How sure are you that the pistons have the same deck height clearance etc? I'd carefully go back and check valve to piston clearances on at least one cylinder, if not all of them if it's not clear.

Someone else chime in here if there is a better way quickly. I'm thinking of doing this with no pushrods or rockers, a dial indicator, and a valve spring compressor. Try to compress a valve spring carefully on one cylinder, with that cam lobe topped out. Get a rough idea of how much the valve will open at that point, then do the other valve on that cylinder, while it's lobe is topped out.

There may be a better of safer way, that just comes to mind quickly. I think you have either the wrong valve springs, or pistons which are hitting the valves.

damn this totally sucks!!!!

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Hmmm...well, pushrods are cheap. You might not want to know what I would try, but...did you feel ANY binding when turning the engine over? I hasn't started, so this is something you can test without running the engine. You need new pushrods anyway, if you put a straight one in where you had a bent one, do you get any binding? You have the intake off now, this should not be too hard to find.

Come on over my house and put my transmission in and I will work on your engine. I think we both can use the change. I had a friend come over today and we just couldn't get my trans aligned right. I forced some bolts in (NEVER do that) but my u-joint snapped on my ratchet before I could go further. That was God making me take a break.

May I suggest you find Adam Sandler's Peice of Sh*t car and listen to it. Might make you laugh right now. I know I sing it every time I can't get something fixed in the Explorer!

I think I am buying a convertible Mustang tomorrow instead.