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Discussion Starter #1
Searching for a write up on replacing the head gaskets On my 97 Tbird lx 4.6. I have found one thread referencing a write up, but not found the actual write up yet. Hanes manual is horrible when it comes to this procedure.

Could someone please provide help in locating this write up? If there is one, I will be most thankful for it!!

Currently I am replacing the valve cover gaskets and grommets, head gaskets and head bolts. Any other wear parts I should look at replacing while I have the heads off? I had read about doing the oil filter adapter gasket too, that sounded cheap. I like cheap :)

There was a good amount of oil in my coolant, engine oil not transmission fluid. No coolant in the oil. Miss fire in Cylinder 7. Cylinder 7 and 8 both had a bit of coolant on the plugs. This leads me to believe something is wrong with the gaskets or head/block on the drivers side. It did not suffer any overheating during these recent problems.

I have a lot of the peripheral components removed already like the intake, plug wires, radiator fan shroud, alternator, water pump pulley and a few others. I cant figure how to get the wire harness completely out of the way either. There are few connections way down there so far that I cant see what they connect to.

I replaced the air intake manifold not long ago, blend door actuator and torque converter most recently.

Thank you in advance for your assistance!!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I was debating on swap, and that is something I will definitely go with when a more catastrophic event happens to the engine.

I already have the gaskets and seals mentioned before and have taken parts off the front of the engine. Power steering fluid reservoir, acc belt, belt tension arm and another pulley off the head cover.

From where I sit now, to me it looks like I have to tear off a front cover on the engine. Then may be more inside that, something timing chain related?

A write up will have me feeling much more reassured while tearing off pieces of my engine ;)
 

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To do it right, you should probably invest in the Ford factory service manual if you're new to this sort of thing, but in a brief nutshell...

Drain coolant, remove top hose. Remove Intake tube/vacuum lines, belt, alternator and all accessory drive pulleys except a/c and water pump (including the harmonic balancer and p/s pump), coils/wires, fuel rail/injectors, harness, intake manifold, DPFE sensor/bracket, front timing cover, valve covers, valley heater tube, oil dipstick tube, unbolt exhaust at manifolds, remove timing chains from cam gears, then heads. Clean all flat surfaces well with something that won't scratch the surface before reassembly.

I KNOW I missed something, so now I am waiting for someone to let me know what I missed.

I just kind of went at it. Took off everything that got in the way. :) You can see a few pics of disassembly and reassembly in my build thread. See the link in my sig.

While you're in there, you should probably do the oil filter adapter gasket and motor mounts. Much easier with the top end off.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Any recommendations on where to shop for front engine mounts online?

I used partsgeek in the past. They have them for about 45 per side. So under 100 for the set. It looked like there were two total mounts for the front, one per side.
 

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Rockauto.com. Search the miscellaneous section for the 5% discount coupon thread. Two mounts total, one each side.

BTW - Look into the coolant mod. Cylinders 7 and 8 run consistently hotter than the other cylinders due to the fact that hot coolant flowing through heads doesn't exit the driver's head at the rear like it does on the passenger head.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I am not sure if my engine is the SOHC or DOHC. I only see OHC in one place.

So SOHC? If so it looks like the coolant mod will be different than the DOHC engines? Seems worth while while I have the engine apart. Not sure which mod is the correct one though yet :)
 

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Head gaskets and/or head swaps are pretty easy. Not as easy as push rod engines but easy none the less if you have a basic mechanical comprehension. Key points are this I feel.

1. Be sure to resurface the heads no matter what. Even if you do a swap, resurface the heads any time you install a used set of heads.
2. Use OEM gaskets and head bolts. Unless you see yourself running boost or just want to spend the extra money. People tend to split on this, but I find in an engine that's mostly stock OEM is best. Also Ford head bolts for the 4.6 are torque to yield so you CAN NOT reuse them.
3. Adhere to torque sequences when installing heads, intake manifold, and cams. Torque wrench's are your friend. You want to insure a proper seal.
4. Timing is key. I've heard even being one tooth off on the timing for these engines will totally destroy them. Refer to a timing diagram for proper timing chain install.

Some things to replace while your there:
- timing chain guides and tensioner arms.
- intake manifold gaskets.
- timing chain cover gaskets and front main seal
- depending on mileage, maybe even on the chain. If you are near or over 200k miles on the chain I'd seriously consider changing it. Again people are split on replacing the chain too.
- if you want some extra performance PI cams and intake
 

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I am not sure if my engine is the SOHC or DOHC. I only see OHC in one place.

So SOHC? If so it looks like the coolant mod will be different than the DOHC engines? Seems worth while while I have the engine apart. Not sure which mod is the correct one though yet :)
You really dont need a coolant mod.

Yeah, SOHC .. Ford didnt make the Tbird with DOHC.

Have you dont a compression test ? Leakdown test ? Exhaust leak detection in the coolant ? Cooling system pressure test ???

Sort of jumping the gun, I wouldnt start pulling heads off until you were conclusive it is a blown head gasket. I have worked on MANY 4.6L engines, and only seen two blown head gasket first hand and they were on DOHC Mark VIII's.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Unique, timing chain kits seam reasonable. Do you have one in mind that covers just the parts you recommend replacing? My Tbird Has 122k on it.

http://www.rockauto.com/catalog/x,carcode,1140613,parttype,5756


SCTbird, no compression in cylinder 7 or 8.

I did not do a leak down test.

I felt the oil in the cooling system was for sure head gasket.

Unless it turns out to be a cracked head or block. Which puts me in the market for a new engine if it is the block! But any alternative ideas as to what let oil in my coolant are welcome :)

It for sure is not trans fluid in the coolant, so the radiator is out.
 

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I would recheck cylinder 7 and 8 with a compression tester. Oil in the coolant can easily be from the transmission cooler built into the radiator side tank or a leaking oil filter adapter housing gasket. I've only worked with 4 blown head gaskets on 4.6's out of hundreds and I'll assure you when they go out they over heat and get coolant in the oil and smoke like a house on fire.
 

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I would recheck cylinder 7 and 8 with a compression tester. Oil in the coolant can easily be from the transmission cooler built into the radiator side tank or a leaking oil filter adapter housing gasket. I've only worked with 4 blown head gaskets on 4.6's out of hundreds and I'll assure you when they go out they over heat and get coolant in the oil and smoke like a house on fire.
7 or 8 are the ones that usually bend a valve, in my personal experience. They seem to sludge up the valvetrain, due to poor circulation, thus the plethora of cooling mods.

That would not put oil in the coolant.

If there's zero compression, the engine would make some serious noise; not much can cause that, and it all sounds bad.

A bent valve sounds like a ball peen hammer, 1 per rpm. :)

Chunks of broken piston sounds like that until it either blows out the exhaust, or welds itself to a valve seat, sounding more like the bent valve, which it might be by then. :)

A hole in the piston will blow oil everywhere, but not likely into the coolant; unless it gets squeezed thru the HG somehow. Seems like it'd be easier to go out the hole it came thru...

I'm with Chris; recheck everything, and pressure test the cooling system.
I bet you find a leak at the oil filter adapter.

I have one leaking on Lazarus, and have needed some good weather to fix it. :)
 

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I have worked on MANY 4.6L engines, and only seen two blown head gasket first hand and they were on DOHC Mark VIII's.
^^^ this. I have only seen One sohc with blown hgs and and it was like a 93 crown Vic . All other modulars with blown hgs that I have seen were dohc.

I would make sure that your front head freeze plugs arent leaking into the oil. A pressure tester would be good here to pinpoint the problems. Water in the spark plug wells is usually a leaking intake/ thermostat or Rain water. Good luck and keep us posted.

Edit: just saw you have no compression on 7 and 8. Could be bent valves. Might be worthwhile to put a little oil in the cylinders and recheck to rule out cylinder ring fuel wash.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
All good ideas. I will do some more testing and follow back up with more information.

How would the oil filter adapter allow for oil in the coolant? That part is the piece that mounts to the block and then the oil filter mounts to it right?

I was thinking about doing this gasket too while I had the heads torn off. But this might be the source of oil in my coolant? Hmmmm

Now I am staring at my valve covers in contemplation. Do I precede with taking them, the timing chain cover and heads off unnecessarily? Hmmm

The car has a feeling of lacking power under acceleration when driving (seems worse when car has warmed up), no white smoke, oil in the coolant, no loud noises of valves being chewed and finally a little coolant on plugs 7 and 8.
 

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the filter adapter has coolant and oil running through it. the lower radiator hose comes out of the block through it alongside the oil filter.



the oil will leak across where the coolant and oil holes are really close. when i pulled my gasket out, the orange Orings for the oil side actually fell apart they were so cracked.... my adapter was leaking pretty badly all over my subframe.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
This sounds more and more promising!

I still found coolant on the 7th and 8th cylinders too. And acceleration feels a bit sluggish.

Sound like oil adapter gasket and or head gasket?
 

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Coolant on top of the spark plugs like in the spark plug boot tubes?
 
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