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Need head gasket job advice

 
Old 12-02-2018, 02:25 PM
  #41  
MRPVette
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Did mine about 4 years ago did it all from the top,new gaskets,arp bolt sent the head out to be redone the whole job cost me about $800.
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Old 12-02-2018, 05:47 PM
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That is encouraging, can you itemize the $800, I am figuring $300 for the heads, $100 for the gasket set....thanks!
Not sure what are the arp bolts,,,,Did you torque to factory specs? Did you spray the head gaskets with copper? Fiber or aluminum head gasket?
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Old 12-02-2018, 07:22 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by woodcrest View Post

1. it is easier to unbolt the whole front assembly of the car (4 bolts) and slide the assembly out from the body under a raised car. Is this the way to go? I have looked on youtube about this, but have been unsuccessful.

2. Because of the iron block and aluminum heads, I have been told it is common for head gaskets to fail on the Corvette, true?

3. Best to install metal gaskets andovertorque by 7 lbs or so? What if compression tests indicate the left side (non air conditioner side) is the problem, but the right side shows strong compression, tempting to just do gasket on the left side. Very thankful for any advice.



You need better mechanics, better friends and learn how to use the internet dude.

Whoever is telling you these stories has no idea how to work on cars.

From late 1986 thru 1996 Corvettes came with cast iron blocks and aluminum heads.

I wonder-wonder-wonder why a "mechanic" would tell a customer the engine+crossmember must camo down for a head gasket job.




Show this to your mechanic. We pull the engine from above



Get a new mechanic!!
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Old 12-03-2018, 12:14 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by woodcrest View Post
That is encouraging, can you itemize the $800, I am figuring $300 for the heads, $100 for the gasket set....thanks!
Not sure what are the arp bolts,,,,Did you torque to factory specs? Did you spray the head gaskets with copper? Fiber or aluminum head gasket?
I paid $350 for the heads redone,$100 for Factory GM Head gaskets,$100 for new arp bolts, changed oil Twice flushing out engine the first time $80 the rest intake gasket Misc Wire brushes gasket sealer etc.
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Old 12-04-2018, 07:37 AM
  #45  
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Make sure you have a set of Torx sockets. I got them from Harbor Fright ones that go on a rachet and long T handle. And while you are in there are your injectors Multecs??
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Old 12-04-2018, 02:11 PM
  #46  
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If you haven't done this before, take your time and a lot of notes and pictures.
A few areas you might have problems are with the intake runner tubes. They won't budge until you have every last bolt loosened, and a few toward the back of the engine are obscure, and not easy to access. No problem once you have done it, but kinda mysterious if you haven't. Get Ziploc bags, and label all the bolts as you remove them and where they go.
You don't need to discharge the a/c system. Just move the compressor gently out of the way, and use zip ties to hold it there, same with the power steering pump.
Might want to get the engine on Top Dead Center of Cylinder number 1 before disassembly so the distributor gets put back in a little easier.
Another thing is to be really careful with the EGR Solenoid lines (Take PICTURES), They are brittle ,and if the hoses crumble, it will bewilder you trying to figure out how all those lines go back together.
Adjusting the valves is pretty easy, but if you haven't done it before, you might want to study up on it, I like rotating the engine 90 degrees at a time with a breaker bar till they are all done.
If you get the heads looked at, might want to put new valve seals in while they are at it, and check the springs.
And for all your sanity, Don't let ANYTHING FALL INTO THE LOWER PART OF THE ENGINE (nuts, bolts, washers). That will make this a much more difficult job. You'll probably have to pull the pan, and possibly the engine if that happens.
Notice how clean the after pics are that are shown from PLRX, cleanliness is extremely important.

Good luck!

Don't be afraid to ask a lot of questions. I've played with cars all my life, but this forum has gotten me out of a jam more than a couple of times.

Last edited by cadmaniac; 12-04-2018 at 02:17 PM.
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Old 12-04-2018, 05:25 PM
  #47  
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a few purchasing tips - get a fel-pro head gasket set. this will contain everything your need, less exhaust manifold gaskets for around $75. https://www.ebay.com/itm/Engine-Cyli...45c5%7Ciid%3A1 . ARP head bolts - IMPORTANT - buy them from a reputable supplier. I've heard rumors about chinese knock-offs infiltrating the market. you know the old saying - if the price is too good.... a "real" set should run about $75. purchasing tip - you can get both from summit racing - free shipping for any purchase over $99. while you're at it, consider new injectors (FIC rebuilt bosch3's), cap and rotor, plugs, wires, etc.. if it's in the budget address everything while things are apart - write it off as project creep. BTW, my total cost on head gaskets ran around $750 and that included a fresh tune up, injectors, new water pump, EGR valve, fuel filter, etc. - pretty much everything. i was lucky - my "624" iron heads were in great shape and only spent about a hundred bucks on a refresh. good luck!
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Old 12-04-2018, 07:56 PM
  #48  
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And my insurance agent once told me that a corvette with a cracked fiberglass body automatically becomes worth 30 % less....
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Old 12-04-2018, 08:04 PM
  #49  
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Ok. Sorry.

heres my advice.

yes you can use scotch brite (aluminum oxide) pads to clean up the deck provided you have done a great job masking off the cylinders to prevent any little bit of the aluminum oxide residue from fallimg into the cylinder (Bobtheoilguy’s advice on not being able to use scotch brite pad is bullsh1t, you just have go be careful.

i found some 4”? Diameter cardboard lids that fit perfectly into the cylinder bores. I bought them at jo ann fabrics. I used those to mask the bores off

use brake cleaner to clean out the carbon in the cylinder bores and piston top.

use sealant on the head bolts and buy a new set of head bolts while at it.

Clean out and chase the head bolt holes real well with brake parts cleaner and a chaser thread.

Be darn sure you drain that brake parts cleaner out of your engine coolant jacket by removing the knock sensor(s) at the very bottom. Else it will eat your rubber hoses - esp under heat.

Dont forget the intake manifold is notorious for not sealing. Basically the sealant gets all smushed out of the valleys when you tighten it down. Some people recommmend finger tighting the intake bolts - let it semi harden for a few hours, then torque to spec while its quasi-hard.

good luck !



Last edited by dizwiz24; 12-04-2018 at 08:05 PM.
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Old 12-05-2018, 08:24 AM
  #50  
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All this advice is sound, Keep in mind nobody uses the rubber "china wall" gaskets on the intake either. Get some permatex ultra seal, and put a tall thick bead across the front and back of the intake.

I know it sounds very intimidation, but this is not that difficult of a project, just time consuming. Like I said, take a lot of notes and pictures because you have to take a lot of things apart, and remembering where it all goes can be tricky.
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Old 12-05-2018, 08:30 AM
  #51  
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I would not drop the engine, there should be enough room to do both sides without dropping the engine. That's just asking for more work. I would do both sides and use Fel-Pro gaskets. As for Torque specs do not over torque them, go by what factory specs. Personally I'd replace the heads with a good set of Cast Iron ones and use the 85 gaskets like someone in said in one of the previous posts. If going with cast iron heads I'd also run a 160 thermostat in it.
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Old 12-08-2018, 04:10 AM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by ZEN357 View Post
I would not drop the engine, there should be enough room to do both sides without dropping the engine. That's just asking for more work. I would do both sides and use Fel-Pro gaskets. As for Torque specs do not over torque them, go by what factory specs. Personally I'd replace the heads with a good set of Cast Iron ones and use the 85 gaskets like someone in said in one of the previous posts. If going with cast iron heads I'd also run a 160 thermostat in it.
nice thing about cast iron heads on a cast iron block is that everything basically expands and contracts at the same rate, unlike aluminum and cast iron, use a steel shim gasket and sealer, and once together head gaskets rarely fail unless the antifreeze / coolant isn't maintained and then rust becomes an issue.
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Old 12-17-2018, 12:28 AM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by MRPVette View Post
Did mine about 4 years ago did it all from the top,new gaskets,arp bolt sent the head out to be redone the whole job cost me about $800.
Originally Posted by dizwiz24 View Post
Ok. Sorry.

heres my advice.

yes you can use scotch brite (aluminum oxide) pads to clean up the deck provided you have done a great job masking off the cylinders to prevent any little bit of the aluminum oxide residue from fallimg into the cylinder (Bobtheoilguy’s advice on not being able to use scotch brite pad is bullsh1t, you just have go be careful.

i found some 4”? Diameter cardboard lids that fit perfectly into the cylinder bores. I bought them at jo ann fabrics. I used those to mask the bores off

use brake cleaner to clean out the carbon in the cylinder bores and piston top.

use sealant on the head bolts and buy a new set of head bolts while at it.

Clean out and chase the head bolt holes real well with brake parts cleaner and a chaser thread.

Be darn sure you drain that brake parts cleaner out of your engine coolant jacket by removing the knock sensor(s) at the very bottom. Else it will eat your rubber hoses - esp under heat.

Dont forget the intake manifold is notorious for not sealing. Basically the sealant gets all smushed out of the valleys when you tighten it down. Some people recommmend finger tighting the intake bolts - let it semi harden for a few hours, then torque to spec while its quasi-hard.

good luck !


I am not sure what you mean by "drain that brake parts cleaner out of your engine coolant jacket by removing the knock sensor(s) at the very bottom", brake parts cleaner in my engine? knock sensor(s) at the very bottom? thanks
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Old 12-17-2018, 12:36 AM
  #54  
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OK! Got the heads off, and sure enough, had a bad gasket.
I was told (and shown) that the heads tend to develop a crack in the middle of the head along a bolt hole. The remedy is to drill the hole, put in a bushing. One head has this, the other does not. I plan to but a bushing in both heads.
What about iron heads? What would I lose? Are the valves the same size? What is meant by "85 gaskets"? Which iron heads would be the best choice?
Thanks for all the great advice, gave me confidence!
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Old 12-17-2018, 12:47 AM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by ZEN357 View Post
I would not drop the engine, there should be enough room to do both sides without dropping the engine. That's just asking for more work. I would do both sides and use Fel-Pro gaskets. As for Torque specs do not over torque them, go by what factory specs. Personally I'd replace the heads with a good set of Cast Iron ones and use the 85 gaskets like someone in said in one of the previous posts. If going with cast iron heads I'd also run a 160 thermostat in it.
Do you know of specific cast iron heads to recommend? Also, what would be the torque specs?
Thanks
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Old 12-17-2018, 07:56 AM
  #56  
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Listen, It's not like head gaskets are blowing right and left because they are made of aluminum. Probably 80 percent of cars out there have cast iron blocks and alum heads (like every import). Those old cast iron heads failed too, no? Aluminum heads dissipate heat much better, and are much lighter than cast iron. Do what you like, but if you even THINK about head replacement, get some aluminum ones. Lood for a good set of factory "113" heads. Those are the 1987 (I think) and up C4 corvette heads till 1991. They'll run you in the neighborhood of $400. Not the best head, but better than cast iron, and all accessory bolt holes are there, and they will "bolt on" perfectly.

Skip white sells Knock off Chevy aluminum heads, brand new for dirt cheap too, but those might have minor accessory bolt differences. They machine them in house and sell hundreds if not thousands of them. Not arp, but they'll do the job just fine. I bought a set a while back for a 355 chevy engine and they work great. I have Dart Pro 1 ($1800) heads on my other Vette, and one of the a/c bracket holes is missing, so minor differences are not exclusive to inexpensive heads.

You can also always get Dart "iron eagles". Have you been to Jegs and Summit racing? There are literally hundreds of aftermarket heads available. So many in fact that you'd find it hard to make a decision.
It goes like this (cost wise):
Option 1) Repair the old heads if possible.
Option 2) Find a GOOD set of "113" heads. (this is my personal choice)
Option 3) Find a good used set of aftermarket heads
Option 4) Buy a new set of Cast iron or Aluminum heads. Sky's the limit. $700 - $2500 for the heads alone.

Make sure you use the head gasket recommended by the cylinder head manf. They know best what works best with their product.

Choose wisely grasshopper.
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Old 12-17-2018, 04:05 PM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by woodcrest View Post
Do you know of specific cast iron heads to recommend?
I'm reluctant to answer this question, because I believe the aluminum heads are probably worth your trouble. Here's a YouTube video that might answer your question. I put a set of iron 993 heads on my '84, that I ported and matched to my ported manifold, and I'm very happy with them. I paid $50 for the pair.


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Old 12-26-2018, 10:58 PM
  #58  
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OK, got the heads off, one will require some work, but useable.
Mine should be the '113''s since this is an 89.
I pulled the water pump also, any suggestions as to best replacement?
Higher volume pump?
Electric water pump?
Thanks all for getting me this far.

Last edited by woodcrest; 12-26-2018 at 11:10 PM. Reason: more info
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Old 12-27-2018, 12:07 AM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by woodcrest View Post
I pulled the water pump also, any suggestions as to best replacement?
Higher volume pump?
Electric water pump?
.
Electric water pump...NO before your cooling system can work, your electrical system has to work. Keep it simple and reliable with a mechanical water pump, original serpentine belt routing, etc.
For a water pump, what you pay for is what you get. A $50 rebuild, cheap seals, cheap, small bearings, and worst of all, a stamped tin impeller with straight blades. Get a top line pump, like Edlebrock, Weiand "Team G", Stewart, etc. You'll get the good stuff PLUS (and this is important), a machined impeller with curved blading; it'll move more water, at a lower rpm than any of the alternatives


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Old 12-27-2018, 05:38 PM
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Input from a Chevy, but non-Corvette, owner says if you put in a higher flow water pump you also must replace the radiator with a high-flow radiator.
True for Corvettes also?
Thanks
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