12 March 2015

How to - change a head gasket

Here's an unintentional project,
that's taken a life of it's own.
It all started with a holey radiator,
expanding to a blown head gasket.
The easy fix would have been cleaning the surfaces,
bolting on a new head gasket,
and fixing the radiator.
That was a 70-30 call,
a steel headed ford 302 should absorb a little heat,
but who knows the continued reliability as a daily driver.
The original engine bay was a nasty mess.
I felt like a high schooler,
pulling the engine out off the street!
The car rope towed to a conveniently vacant garage.
This was a chance to fix other gremlins.
The brakes have never been 100%,
more like 30%.
On went a shiny new disc brake kit.
The tired engine underwent a total transformation.
New everything!
And that's putting it lightly.
New heads, intake, cam, rockers...
Cubic dollars!
Even the oil pump shaft was replaced.
I had heard of these twisting,
but never saw one.
I'd run this engine in the 40.
My budget is the swap a head gasket fix.
New headers were installed,
not without typical "bolt-on" problems.
See anything out of the ordinary?
Usually companies send extra fasteners,
especially when they're cheap steel.
Somehow Hooker Headers sent the only threadless stud in the 10,000,000 they process.
A 69 camaro exhaust was retrofitted to the 69 mustang.
Surprised how similar both cars are.
Then all the rust was cut out,
patches and covered with sloppy bondo.
Some rust was known,
this was hidden under a panel.
It took a crack team of experts to troubleshoot a tuning issue to a faulty carburetor.
Thanks uncle Steve and Mike...
Then of course the special gaskets popped out,
resulting in a major oil leak.
I've done this enough times to not trust gaskets over silicon,
but with the aluminum heads and new intake,
I figured an Edelbrock labeled gasket set would work.
With the engine bay scrubbed,
new motor, carburetor and radiator...
this is like a new car.
We're waiting on a new brake proportioning valve.
the replacement had stuck closed.

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