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Discussion Starter #1
So anyway, my 3.8 blew it's head gaskets (hold your gasps please) and I just decided on rebuilding the heads anyway instead of V8ing it at this time. Im still going to v8 it later, but for now its still my DD and I have a SHO that wants the attention of mods.

So anyway, I just spent a good part of 2 hours (in between dinner) searching this forum on replacement head gaskets. I remember years ago reading something about an 01 mustang was the best replacement ones, not a 96 like mine.

My heads are off at the shop getting machined so they will be flat(er). I'm also rebuilding the whole valve train while I have it off.

My questions are:

1) what are the best HGs to use. I heard MLS ones, but what year/brand are the best, and compatible with a 96 3.8?

2) Is there a rebuild kit with HGs that will work with my year? I could get a upper end kit for my year but it has the same style HGs as mine, if I got a kit for an 00+ Stang I'm afraid things wouldn't match up. I may just by my seats, rods, etc separately if that's the case.

3) HG failure is pretty comon on these motors. Why on earth isn't there a sticky on this stopping useless posts like this? I know the information is out there, but its incredibly difficult to find. I hate sounding like a noob asking common questions.


Thanks everyone for the help!
 

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Don't use the MLS gaskets. They are better if the block and heads are machined for them, but without machining the deck of the block, they will not seal properly. The real reason the newer motors don't pop head gaskets as much really has less to do with those gaskets than it does with the design of the newer heads. My advice is just get a fel-pro kit for a 96 tbird 3.8, but make sure to get new head bolts at the least, and preferably ARP head studs.
 

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I know you're not ready to do any mods right now, but if you can open up your exhaust..That will help to prevent future head gasket failures..

While your car is down check out the cats..If you have blockage at the cats that could have been a contributing factor to the head gaskets failing on you..

As far as the Head Gaskets go..Just use the Fel-Pro (8857PT-1) Head Gaskets..

You don't need MLS gaskets, and like it was already mentioned MLS gaskets require machining of the head and block surfaces to seal correctly..

The ARP Head Studs part number is: 153-4001

Before you install the Head studs chase the threads with a M11x1.5 bottom tap..Being sure to clean all the holes out thoroughly..

Install the short studs on the bottom using some ARP thread sealer (only finger tight though)..Install the longer studs on the top.

Torque the heads to 45-65-90 using ARP moly lube on the threads..Then torque the heads again at 90 ft/lbs after waiting a few hours.





Rayo..
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the replys guys!

I've already chased the threads out too, I will check the cats as well, wouldn't of thought of that.

I'm not getting the block resurfaced so I guess I can't do the MLS anyway, thats good information.

I think the main cause was the fact there was A LOT of rust in the coolant, the guy before me with the car left it under a tree with straight water in it for over a year. When I removed they head gaskets, almost all the passages were blocked. The car hardly over heated according to the gauge, but without proper coolant flow to the heads, they probably were over heating alone.
 

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I think the main cause was the fact there was A LOT of rust in the coolant, the guy before me with the car left it under a tree with straight water in it for over a year. When I removed they head gaskets, almost all the passages were blocked.
If somebody did that to my car, I think I would blow a gasket.:redmad:
 
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