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Head Gasket Advice

239

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2000 XLT, V6 OHV
Back in 2015 my heater hose broke and caused my vehicle to overheat, and I’ve replaced every gasket down the lower intake since then, due to leaks. I started getting a misfire(p0304) a few months ago and was losing coolant. I added some k seal and it went away. I drained the radiator to get rid of any leftover k seal and the misfire came back, until I added more k seal. Well, I took the truck in for a compression test today and it passed. But I’m still getting pressure in the coolant system when the truck is cold, such as coolant pouring out when I remove the radiator cap or bubbles forming in the reservoir tank. I’m wondering if the exhaust could be leaking into the coolant, even though the coolant isn’t getting into the cylinder. Any advice would be appreciated before I pay to have the engine dismantled to replace the heads/head gasket. I’m wondering if the exhaust is still somehow in the system and needs to be released. Sorry for the long read. Thanks.
 
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koda2000

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Yes, you can most certainly have exhaust leaking into the coolant w/out coolant leaking into the engine. K-Seal will not fix your problem. You'll need to replace the head gaskets and maybe the heads. If the heads are not cracked you may be able to resurface them to take out any warp, but 4.0L OHV heads are known for cracking.

As far as the K-Seal, you should not have drained it out. It's supposed to remain in the cooling system permanently. Read the bottle. It will not hurt/clog anything.
 
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239

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Yes, you can most certainly have exhaust leaking into the coolant w/out coolant leaking into the engine. K-Seal will not fix your problem. You'll need to replace the head gaskets and maybe the heads. If the heads are not cracked you may be able to resurface them to take out any warp, but 4.0L OHV heads are known for cracking.

As far as the K-Seal, you should not have drained it out. It's supposed to remain in the cooling system permanently. Read the bottle. It will not hurt/clog anything.

At this point I’m pretty sure it is the heads since it’s the infamous p0304 code. I’ve read a lot on this site about cracks around cylinder 4. I’ll definitely get the head gasket replaced and I’ll have a set of heads from kings cylinder heads on hand in case mine are cracked. Now’s a good time to replace the pushrods and rocker arms too, along with the fuel injectors. So I’ll definitely do all of that. K seal is good stuff and it stopped the coolant from burning but the exhaust is still getting into the coolant. Still it helped more than it was designed for.
 
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koda2000

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At this point I’m pretty sure it is the heads since it’s the infamous p0304 code. I’ve read a lot on this site about cracks around cylinder 4. I’ll definitely get the head gasket replaced and I’ll have a set of heads from kings cylinder heads on hand in case mine are cracked. Now’s a good time to replace the pushrods and rocker arms too, along with the fuel injectors. So I’ll definitely do all of that. K seal is good stuff and it stopped the coolant from burning but the exhaust is still getting into the coolant. Still it helped more than it was designed for.

If you think about it you can understand why combustion pressure is winning over coolant system pressure.
 
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239

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If you think about it you can understand why combustion pressure is winning over coolant system pressure.

Yes. The compression phase of the cylinder cycle is definitely more powerful than the coolant pressure, so I can see now how it would win.
 
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Terkins

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Yes. The compression phase of the cylinder cycle is definitely more powerful than the coolant pressure, so I can see now how it would win.

Sorry to hear about your predicament. I have a 2000 XLS with about 140K miles. How many miles do you have on your XLT? Given your history, seems replacing my heater hoses might be a good idea; 18 yrs. of 'cooking' is bound to affect their integrity.
 
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239

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Sorry to hear about your predicament. I have a 2000 XLS with about 140K miles. How many miles do you have on your XLT? Given your history, seems replacing my heater hoses might be a good idea; 18 yrs. of 'cooking' is bound to affect their integrity.

I’m currently at 256,000. I’d definitely consider replacing any rubber and plastic parts that are associated with the cooling system at this age. If I knew that a relatively cheap heater control valve would have saved me thousands in repairs, I would have replaced it without a second thought. But I was younger at the time and less vigilant when it came to preventative maintenance. I think I had around 200,000 miles when it broke. Funny thing is I live in Florida and only use the heater maybe 2-3 times a year.

I’ve been checking all of my rubber hoses lately and have replaced a few that were rotted upon closer inspection. I had a vacuum hose that was collapsed and leaking but it never caused a check engine light.

Old valve cover hose next to replacement:
A57BAF56-BC0C-4E1C-B3A1-5CD5B54EDC93.jpeg


New hose:

B88F377D-6F1B-4673-8C40-FAB7AF871D20.jpeg
 
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Terkins

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I’m currently at 256,000. I’d definitely consider replacing any rubber and plastic parts that are associated with the cooling system at this age.
Thanks for the reply! (I've been busy switching nephrologists...different 'plumbing' concerns.)
[I'm also busy volunteering for election polling. Amazing (! from polling calls) how many women are so vocal on political matters but so many more either don't bother to vote or are admittedly uneducated about political issues. [Shute: If I had to birth/burp/bundle/bathe/and feed a male x18 years and then turn them over to pope-uncle-sam for military sacrifice I sure-as-sam would want to have my say on politics!]]
 
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239

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Heads got here today:
0188DEB6-486C-4BF6-BC04-3ECB767EE557.jpeg


Here’s what $220 worth of fuel injectors looks like(Still feeling the sting from that purchase :D):

B8A0BD21-ACA6-464F-BA57-0D84C504F270.jpeg


I’m getting charged $1100 for labor, but that will be much cheaper to me than $4800 in yearly payments for a new ranger. It’ll be great to see how much better the truck runs after new heads, gaskets, new pushrods and rocker arms, and new injectors. I think the injectors alone would have made a world of difference since mine are stock. I’ll update.
 
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239

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I got the truck back yesterday and it runs great. It has really smooth acceleration now and it even feels like I regained some HP. I took some photos of the heads. They weren’t cracked from what we could see, but they had warped and allowed coolant to get into the cylinder. It also looked like the coolant passages had becomed clogged by the k seal but I’m not sure. The head gasket was burned and damaged in the same area too. I’m not an expert on the valves so I’ll wait for some input on those. Anyway, that’s what they look like after 250,000+ miles and an overheating event.
97B5A026-F89B-428E-AC53-90F4024E2073.jpeg

C3151AA0-1EC0-4CAC-8410-F7E8F9C2BAE7.jpeg
 
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roscoe 0202

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get some spot check and check that piston get the head and blocked for flat that hole is like most head gaskets look new at 250k you might look at rebuild or long block
roscoe
 
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lobo411

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Pistons and valves should be a little carbonized but not have any kind of pitting, gouging, cracking, or other signs of physical damage. My heads looked like brand new except for a few light carbon deposits, so I'd say the photos you have look pretty bad.
 
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239

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Yeah it does look pretty bad. That’s what I get for driving it a mile after it overheated. For now it’s back together and running great so I think the lower end is ok. I’m looking at either a full rebuild or a 5.0 swap in the next couple of years.
 
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lobo411

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I don't think the cloggy stuff is K-seal. I think "sealed" K-Seal is more of a metallic copper.
 
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sport40

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The sohc motors have very crappy head gaskets from factory!!!!! they always spring leaks use only felpro head gaskets, as far as carbon build up you need to drive it like you stole it a few times a yr to burn it all out, these motors where never designed to be put in explorer, they where designed fro the jaguar cars, ford just got lazy and put in explorers.
 
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239

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The sohc motors have very crappy head gaskets from factory!!!!! they always spring leaks use only felpro head gaskets, as far as carbon build up you need to drive it like you stole it a few times a yr to burn it all out, these motors where never designed to be put in explorer, they where designed fro the jaguar cars, ford just got lazy and put in explorers.

Mine’s the OHV. But that might be my issue. I rarely push past 2500 rpms. My usual take off from red Lights/stop signs is 2000 rpm. That might explain all the build up. But also why my factory transmission is still going strong(for a few more years too I hope).
 
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