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After extensively digging through threads for a couple months, I'm trying to narrow down parts & materials needed for the HG install. I have a major fear of breaking bolts on this thing with no easy way of extraction. Otherwise I feel confident in performing the procedure. 93 3.8 NA block.

On top of having the Fel-Pro -5 upper engine kit, new rad hoses, & thermostat, I will be ordering two (4 in case of F'ups) full sets of TTY head bolts, water pump, coolant, oil, & oil filter for the job.

I think I should get the heater hoses replaced as well, anyone happen to know the size hose I need? While I'm doing the water pump, will it be necessary to mess with the timing cover? Not looking forward to that if so, darn thing is in the oil pan and I don't want to crack the seal on it.

I have seen others vaguely mention using thread sealer on some parts or bolts during the install. None have been descriptive enough as to where this would be applied or type of sealant used. I'm under the impression the lower bolts would be sealed due to being in the coolant cavity, to reduce risk of corrosion. I also need to confirm if & where any gasket sealant would be used on the lower intake manifold, as this would appear to be a main source of leaks. Then I ask what type of sealant am I looking for there. Am I missing any materials yall could think of that would make my life easier than running to o'Reilly every 2 hrs during the job? Thanks for your time.
 

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Use the Chevy ARP head studs for thr 2.8L i believe, instead of the TTY bolts. Chase the threads with a bottoming tap before installation.

Edit .. Also thr RTV goes in the corners between the the intake manifold / heads / block .. Everything you need should be in the kit including a mini tube of RTV.
 

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1995 mercury cougar xr7 4.6 v8
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Id just pull it out and do it on a stand. That way you can re do all the water jacket plugs etc
 

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You don't need to touch the timing cover to change the hoses.
Clean bolt holes and anything that will get a sealant on it with brake cleaner or equivalent solvent for a clean sealing surface.
If I recall correctly it might be the lower head bolts that would require RTV sealant, some may go into the water jackets. I think some water pump bolts need it as well.
Use anti-seize compound on applicable fasteners, spark plugs, exhaust bolts etc.
Clean up any loose debris (degreaser, scraper, brush, shop-vac etc.) as you (degreaser, scraper, brush, shop-vac etc.) go to keep it from falling into the engine later.
Get some fender covers or blankets if you don't already have them.
Change the oil after the job is done.
If your car has A/C you may have to get the system discharged/recharged or try to do it without removing any lines from the system. My A/C was dead so I did not have to deal with it.
If you don't have a manual you should get one for reference.
Have a look online for tutorials and walkthroughs of it being done before. This one for example is a 8 part series of how he changed his 3.8 head gaskets. https://www.youtube.com/c/PineMeadowsHobbyFarmAModernHomestead/search?query=3.8

This part is copied from a post I made on SCCoA recently but the same things should apply to a NA car.

I just did mine a couple months ago. It is fairly straight forward, other than a torque wrench and fuel line disconnects it does not require any special tools. Soak whatever fasteners you can see in some good penetrating oil ahead of time, spark plugs too. Hopefully the bolts broken will be minimized.

Here is a few things I recall about it.

For mine I used MLS gaskets and a heavy coat of copper spray on both sides (the block and heads were not resurfaced) and it has been fine so far. It did have studs installed already from a previous rebuild. I also copper sprayed the intake and exhaust gaskets and put a small bead of black rtv sealant around the water jacket holes in the heads/intake.

Be careful cleaning the deck of the block and avoid aggressive abrasive methods that can damage the surface or leave small particles (scotchbrite) in the cylinder bores. The intake bolts will need a thread sealant/locker. I used Permatex High Temp Thread Sealant for mine https://www.permatex.com/products/th...hread-sealant/. Expect a few unexpected extras that may need to be done while the motor is stripped. Heater hoses and motor mounts are easy to change while the heads are off etc. If you are not going to pull the power steering pulley you will need a swivel for your ratchet to get the bolt out behind it.

If the injectors are factory and never been removed or serviced consider replacing the o-rings to avoid any potential fuel/vacuum leaks upon re-assembly. Rock Auto sells the kits cheap for them. Be meticulous about sealing things up to avoid potential vacuum leaks and be gently with the wiring harness and it's connectors. Take photos before, during and after and label anything that is not obvious, this can help with troubleshooting. If you are going to be painting things before it goes back together ensure that there is an unpainted spot where each part meets each other for ground connectivity.
 

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For what it costs to buy 2 sets of TTY bolts, you can get the ARP studs, which are reusable and clamp better. The Chevy 2.8 ones are not only cheaper than the Ford 3.8 ones, but fit better too. Go figure that one out! Doing it in car is not hard at all on the NA 3.8. The only bolts I would be worried about breaking would be the studs in the exhaust manifolds for the downpipes, but since you’ll have them out of the vehicle, it won’t be too hard to drill them out if they do break. There is no need to take the timing cover off for a water pump, but there are going to be a few bolts that are extra long and go through both the water pump and the timing cover and into the block. Those bolts often corrode to the timing cover, and break off, and if that happens, you will have to get the timing cover off to get them out. If you do wind up taking the timing cover off, there is one Allen head bolt at the bottom by the oil pump area. Often by the time it is coming apart, that bolt is caked in grease and grime and people don’t see it and break the timing cover trying to pry it off. The heater hoses are a good idea, and they are pre-molded specific for the car, so you’ll have to get the right ones. If you try to use bulk heater hose, it will kink and not flow properly, and fail prematurely.

As far as making your life easier, one trick I use on every large job is zip-lock bags and a sharpie. As you take off each piece, put all the hardware for that piece in its own bag, and write with the sharpie what exactly it is for. Taking some time during disassembly to do this will save mountains of time going back together since you don’t have to try to figure out what bolts went to what, and you won’t be left with extra bolts at the end wondering where they went, and then realizing that you have to take a bunch of stuff back apart to get to them.
 

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If you are doing the head gaskets on a 3.8l, I would highly suggest spending the extra money to have the heads planed by an engine shop. If they have not been done in 50k miles, I would at least take them to a engine shop and have the checked for warpage. You could use a long straight edge to see if you notice light from a flashlight going through or a dozen other ways to see if the heads need to be planed. These engines are notorious for warped heads. One other note, make sure you replace the valve cover rubber grommets for the bolts with new ones grommets, otherwise, they will leak due to shrinkage after heat and time. The old ones will not tighten well enough to get a good seal on the new valve cover seals. Otherwise, you will be wondering why there is smoke coming out of your engine bay.

Good luck! Actually an easy job, just time consuming if you have not done it before.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Man, got more responses than email let on. Thank you all for assisting! I have weighed the ARP route before, currently I can get the 2 full sets of TTY bolts for about $20 shipped. Last I heard ARP's were going to cost closer to $60-80. Is there a specific year or model of 2.8L I should aim for when searching? Perhaps a known seller with a better price? I didn't see them on Rock Auto, so I imagine they're not a supplier.

I intend to have the heads checked and milled at a shop, I'm OCD but not a machine. Hoping they aren't cracked. I lose coolant, but not seeing a large puddle under the cat. Just a drip coming off the center rack and pinion line. No mixing in the oil and trans looks freshly pink. I have replaced all 3 mounts in recent months with rubber solids. Engine bay has been cleaned by hand as much as can be helped without removing more parts to get to the other grime. When I replaced the valve covers I didn't see any coolant resting inside. Wish there was a way to get the rear main to stop leaking all over the AOD. I also don't have any O2 codes being thrown, which I hear will happen if the gasket allows for a leak down. I'm essentially doing this procedure as a maintenance/inspection of the engine internals, due to age and restoration of the car. A/C hasn't worked in years, original R-12. I may just remove most those components and plug the core. Most of these parts wont be salvageable, and will need replacing for the conversion anyways. I will have to do all this in the bay, no stand or lift to use.

I do have a haynes manual, quite an inconvenient piece of literature. I hate having to flip to 5 different sections, out of order, to complete this job. Not to mention the missing pics or diagrams that it says are in there, they're not.

MadMikey: thanks for the heads up on the pump to cover. I also noticed my outer heater hose of the passenger side has a metal joiner pipe with a screw. I assume this to be like another drain or burping line but dont know what you'd call it. Is this OEM or third party? I know this line has FORD printed on it, but I'm unsure if it is original to the 93 Cougar. It is a molded line that goes from the block ECT, and molds into this metal pipe via manufactured crimp. From the metal pipe its attached via a spring clip to another rubber heater hose that goes into the firewall heater core. The metal portion runs along the outside edge over the valve cover, and secondary hose with spring clip attaches right above the PCV. This metal piping is also mounted for rigidity to the exhaust manifold studs. I will try to get a pic if need be.

jb351: I have watched PineMeadows tutorial before and keep it on my list for the Cat, very appreciative even if low quality footage. MLS sounds nice, but every post before has screamed that block and heads need to be mirror finished. I just dont have your luck, and dont like pushing mine. Did you use the same thread sealer on the head bolts as you did on the intake bolts? I notice you say RTV and thread locker separately, but I dont know enough about the two to understand an individual purpose for the bolt application. I will definitely look for the injector o-rings. Do you happen to know the size of the chase necessary for the head threads? Yeah these brittle ass wire connectors are enraging, snapped one on the TPS just trying to wipe it down. Only thing getting paint would be the polymer valve covers, if any. I've heard the anti-seize used should be O2 sensor safe, any thoughts on this?

White Lincoln: I have noticed a small bit of oil seepage on the head of the bolts after the cover gasket change. The ones that came in the -5 kit are molded rubber. What would that part even be called or is there a part number to reference?
 

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Double check the firing order/plug wire order in the Hayes manual. I believe it is wrong for the SC in that book, not sure about NA.

For the studs this might be the correct ARP part number: 233-4303 (SC block, check for NA use). The issue with the correct ARP 3.8 studs is that the lower studs are too long and need to be shortened to use.

It should be O2 safe anti-seize for the O2 sensors however they will probably come with it or have it pre-applied. I have bought both the NGK and the Delphi ones from RockAuto recently, the NGK ones had it pre-applied and the Delphi ones came with their own compound to apply.

Yes, the block and heads require a good surface finish for MLS gaskets but at times you get away without it. You don't need MLS for NA anyway, a quality composite is more that fine.

The thread sealing compound and the RTV are different products. The thread sealant only went on the intake to cylinder head bolts.

Rock Auto sells the injector o-ring kits.

The head bolt thread size on my SC block is M11x1.5 I don't know if NA is the same. You don't need a bottoming tap for the threads and a tap should be avoided for it unless you need it to fix a thread as it will cut a bit out of the hole, you need to chase the thread which means to clean up the threads without removing any material. Take one of the old head bolts and cut a couple of grooves in it with an angle grinder, deburr it afterwards and use that to chase/clean the threads.

If you have your heads milled it may throw off your valvetrain geometry depending on how much they take off therefore requiring new pushrods. Cylinder head spacer shims that are available may work though if needed.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
jb351 - I found my felpro upper engine kit actually has the injector o-rings already, thankfully. Thank you for the follow up advice. I have been pondering and researching more of it the past couple weeks. I managed to get the ARP 233-4003 kit. Only difference was 6 vs 12 point nuts, cheapest I found was $102. summit would have beat them by a dollar but ran out of stock as I called them.

I'm currently trying to figure out the last components to order for the job. I am wondering if I should replace the temp sensors in the intake manifold at the same time, or let em ride. Last coolant change was probably 6 years ago and no telling the history of changes before that.

I'm confused on the heater hose situation here. I found it interesting the passenger side metal pipe for the heater hose had what I thought was a flush and fill nut. I do know now that this is actually meant to house a 3rd temp sensor, intended for cars equipped with auto climate control. Would there be a solid reason not to use this as a flush port due to no sensor being installed? I realize now the metal pipes joining the system can be repurposed by cutting the crimped fittings off and replacing the rubber while adding worm gear clamps. I had to do the same with the trans lines after all. The problem I'm running into is rock auto is squirrelly with the listings. Some are marked as the same hose but appear entirely different than what I see on my block. Please help confirm which is right.

This should be for the rubber on the crimped pipe under the upper intake manifold to water pump?: More Information for GATES 19636

This one from vent plug valve to water pump?: More Information for GATES 18798

From ECT intake manifold spicket to passenger side heater hose pipe(crimped): More Information for GATES 28475

This one is labeled the same by multiple manufacturers to be the other end of ECT pipe to heater core, just doesn't look right?: More Information for GATES 19628

Same for this one not looking quite right, from heater core to metal pipe under upper intake plenum.: More Information for GATES 19639

I know I sound needy yall, but I do appreciate any and all help dealing with this project.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
What I'm getting at with the hoses, is the gates ones coming off the heater core do not appear to look like the ones currently attached to my vehicle. Meaning as far as rock auto shows. I do see ones from continental and SOME from ac Delco matching, but I could be wrong. Looking for advice from the experts...I dont know if these other offerings could be an incorrect match for the system. Sadly the OCD is bugging out over getting a set of 5 matching pieces of rubber from the same manufacturer. The cheapness in me is saying mix and match... The ARP studs is one thing, the hoses I may concede to mix and match but I dont want to unless absolutely necessary. I'm also a Gates fan, unless someone can school me otherwise. All other front end hoses seem to match in my eyes, just the heater core hoses in the back dont line up to me. Possibly the back options may be revisions? 😁 I could be wrong though😵.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
For anyone else wondering about the heater hoses, this is what I was sent from Gates about the 3.8L for 1993 Cougar.
42803
 
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