It's head gasket time. - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old August 20th, 2007, 01:51 AM
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Chris Snell
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It's head gasket time.

Overheating problems have been narrowed down to a head gasket leak. I'm taking the leap and am going to attempt to do my own head gasket swap. Two years ago, I couldn't change my own oil but I think I'm finally ready to try this.

I remembered Tony Fannin telling me about his head gasket swap and I've found some great info in posts by Tony and Hans Haase, as well:

http://www.defendersource.com/forum/...ead.php?t=5875

http://www.defendersource.com/forum/...ead.php?t=5815

http://www.defendersource.com/forum/...ead.php?t=5914

http://www.defendersource.com/forum/...ead.php?t=4393
I have a couple of questions for those that have done this:

Are there any tools that will make my life easier? I have shallow and deep 12-point metric sockets, shallow 12-point standard sockets, and an assortment of metric wrenches, plus a cheap-crap-looking Craftsman torque wrench that I just bought. I want to do this right and if there's anything that will make it go more quickly or help me be more proper, I'd like to buy it before I start.

I'm planning on using a composite gasket and replacing the valve cover gaskets while I'm at it. I think the valley gasket is another one to replace at the same time, right? What about the intake manifold gasket? Worth doing this one, too?

My valve covers are discolored and crappy looking. I'm thinking about having them either bead-blasted or powder-coated or painted while I have them off. Anybody done this? Have pics?

Wish me luck, I'm going to need it.

Chris
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  #2  
Old August 20th, 2007, 03:00 AM
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Jeff Hoien
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Chris...guess I will be the first to jump in here...it's not hard to change the gaskets out...That said there is alot more to this than meets the eye. Much of it comes from working on engines and obeying some very basic rules of engine teardown and rebuild. My first piece of advice would be get some help. Nothing like having someone there that kinda knows the dos and dont's. In no particular order: replace any and all gaskets, replace your head bolts, clean all bolt holes, buy a tube of right stuff rtv, drain the block, have the heads shaved, don't use anything abrasive on the deck of the block, make sure the liners are are in place, get yourself a half inch breaker bar for the head bolts, 3/8" torque wrench for smaller bolts, how's the cam and lifters...since you are in there now is the time to have a look..., rocker shafts??, exhaust gaskets and studs, belts hoses...Also on the tools...don't use 12 points on anything that is under a lot of torque...they have their purpose but not on engine bolts...get some good 6 points, they won't slip off, pb blaster for stuck bolts, antiseize, i am sure there are other things but can't think of them now... keep all push rods in their order and clean everything, place all nuts, bolts, brackets, clamps, screws in a safe place....also if you have a digi camera...take pictures before disassembly...
get the rave cd it has tons of info on teardown and rebuild
good luck and post back with progress
j
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  #3  
Old August 20th, 2007, 07:13 AM
punter
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Chris,

X2 on pretty much everything Terrepin said... particularly the bit about replacing the head bolts and all the gaskets you encounter, as well as taking pictures of everything. I'd like to go a little further on that point, though, and suggest that you take pictures at every step of disassembly, particularly if you are new to this sort of thing. Pay particular attention to all the brackets and such (that your alternator and such are mounted on).

I just finished rebuilding my entire engine (3.5L V8), from the block up. It's not a hard project, so long as you are very organized. If you tend to be on the anal retentive side, you're already starting with a definate advanatage.

You said your valve covers look bad, but what do your heads look like once the valve cover is off? Are they pretty clean looking, do they appear to have a layer of 'shelac' on them, or are there deposits of crud? This can indicate a lot about the current state of your engine as well as how well it has been maintained... and if there are other parts of the engine that are going to need attention.

Clean looking= you should be very happy
Layer of shelac= normal for an older engine, nothing really to worry about
Deposits of crud= consider looking deeper into the engine

Good tools always make the job easier... and I wouldn't skimp on something like a torque wrench. That being said, Craftsman generally make pretty high quality tools. I've got a lot of their tools, to include one of their torque wrenches and it's quite nice. Depending on how tight it is in your engine compartment, a set of those ratcheting wrenches (they look like the bastard child of a ratchet and a box end wrench) can be a lifesaver.

Gasket sealer... there are lots of types (with better resistance to certain compounds)... use the right one. The folks at your local parts store can help you out on that. Anti-Seize everything! By that, I mean nuts and bolts... I use Permatex Anti-Seize (it's an aluminum-based silverish paste of sorts), it'll make life a lot easier if you ever have to take it apart agian.

Composite head gasket... just be aware that it will change your compression ratio. The degree of the effect will be dependent on how thick the gasket is.

emmm, that's all that comes to mind at the moment, but I'm sure others will have some good points to add.

Good Luck,
Punter
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  #4  
Old August 20th, 2007, 12:48 PM
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Hans Haase
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In this case, the valley gasket IS the intake manifold gasket. The manifold design is somewhat different, which is why you have the different style gasket. On a chevy, the manifold seals up the engine, in the Rover the gasket needs to do the job. You'll see what I mean when you get in there.

The bolts that hold on your exhaust manifolds will be the most likely candidates to break on you if they haven't had any anti-sieze on them. Thankfully mine did so they weren't too bad. Give them a good soaking with kroil or PBblaster while you work on the rest of the stuff up top.

And give yourself a few days, up to a week, to do the job if you can. In reality it should take much less time than that, but you never know when something is going to jump out and demand attention.

I'll also give further support to taking pictures of everything. Take a good number of the ones for the alternator brackets too, I didn't get a photo of the backside of the alternator and I never did figure out where one bracket went back on.

-Hans
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  #5  
Old August 20th, 2007, 07:03 PM
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Chris Snell
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Thanks so much for the excellent info. Will be taking pics of everything I take off. Plan is to put each unique bit into its own brown paper lunchbag and label the bag.

Shopping list:

6-point metric and standard sockets, shallow
1/2" breaker bar
Composite head gaskets
Head bolt set
Valley gasket
Valve cover gaskets
Exhaust manifold gaskets (4, I think)
Anti-sieze


I'm planning on starting work this Friday, if any Utah folk want to join in for a tech night. I'll post some pics and updates as they happen.

Thanks again.
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  #6  
Old August 20th, 2007, 07:58 PM
Andrew Vick
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And rubber end clamp gaskets that hold down the valley gasket. Shouldn't need the clamps.
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  #7  
Old August 21st, 2007, 12:59 AM
punter
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If you look around you can find an upper end gasket set that'll have all that stuff in it... and save you a little money.

I can't remember off hand who sells one... try all the usual suspects:
DAP
Rovers North
Rovah Farm
British Pacific
Atlantic British

cheers,
punter
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