Is my just-installed head gasket bad? | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

  • Register Today It's free!

Is my just-installed head gasket bad?


Well-Known Member
November 21, 2008
Reaction score
City, State
Redmond, OR
Year, Model & Trim Level
94 4x4
93, 99 Bauer 4x4
Just installed new heads. They were torqued correctly in 3 stages. Exhaust white smoke, some white smoke in intake after engine off. Lower rear exhaust bolt where coolant comes out and next bolt forward has white residue around head now but it is normally wet like it comes out of bolt head and runs down the underside of manifold. Runs rough at idle but drives fine. How can a new FelPro gasket do that ? But what side . Dpfe has code so it will be replaced Tuesday when part is in. I've read when it fails, sometimes gases in cylinder can superheat.

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!

how long have you run it with the new heads?
Did you check the block for straightness while the heads were off?

If you still have head gasket leaks after new heads, gaskets and bolts then it is likely the block has a crack in it OR something bad happened during the install
Lower intake can also leak coolant if not installed 100%

Do the exhaust manifold bolts go into the water jackets, or do the bolt holes bottom out?
Are you saying there is engine coolant on the exhaust manifold in the picture?

I've had it driving for about 2 weeks with about 3 - 400 miles. It does run good otherwise, with good acceleration a4nd hill climb. The heavy water vapor happens with a bad rough running start and when the roughness goes away, so does the vapor. A smooth start and no vapor. Yes, I did check for flatness of heads and block. I have a steel milled straightedge. I checked the original heads and bolt holes bottom out no connection to water jacket but I dont know how the new heads are made for the water jackets. The coolant runs down under the rearmost bolt and then down the manifold to the exhaust pipe connection.

If your seeing any kind of white "smoke" in the intake, chances are it is gasoline vapors.

White smoke in intake could be gasoline vapors? That's something I've never noticed before. How does that happen when the injectors aren't connected to the manifold.

my bet is you didnt get the intake gasket lined up properly, i made that mistake installing a intake on a 289 before and dumped coolant straight into the exhaust..

did you use alignment bolts(bolts with the head cut off) or plastic pins when you sat the intake down?

you also been driving it for a while any antifreeze consumption?

I installed the intake manifold after the heads and the bolts sink it down in alignment. I had been consuming antifreeze. When I pulled heads again, found stiff whipped substance all over that was an off white. Coolant in the oil. Oil in pan drained out the whipped stuff with water and oil for hours. I investigated the cause of this and concluded I didn't know about putting sealant on the threads of the headbolts. Because I didn't the first time, the binding and jumping of the bolts as I torqued them down actually can cause undertorquing because of the binding. Hence, the head gasket failed. This time, I torqued down the heads and intake manifold in sequence as per Haynes. Hard to keep track of which bolt is next when you are doing 3 separate items with 2 different socket setups. This time no leaks.