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Old 12-28-2003, 15:50   #1 (permalink)
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302W new head gasket

Hey all :-)

I've bought a EF Fairmont 302W and due to lack of my brain [don't ask], anyway overheated the thing [severely blocked the radiator, in fact the radiator nearly blew apart due to pressure]. A few weeks later, the driver side head gasket is leaking .. What are my options?

I'll surely want to machine the head, since I presume overheating then switching it off suddenly on a cool night is what did the damage :( I don't know if I want to do the work myself. I've done the valve clearances and stuff on the old corona, but new engine is not quite the same. That said, the Max Ellery book doesn't make it look hard, just a matter of pulling off manifolds, rocker cover, pushrods etc and then the head, and replacing all with new gaskets? As a first timer to serious engine work, should I be looking at doing this? Anyone recommend a machine shop in melb who will be open at this time of year? Or, am I better going with reco'd heads, or some high flowing heads? I've got about 1500 i want to spend, really, so not a lot of room to move... [unless I can be convinced to spend some more, if it's gonna be worth it in the long run]

Should I do the other head at the same time?

Questions! :(

What a time of year to discover it, I need the car by mid jan too to go to a wedding!

Thanks to all who can give me the slightest hand :-)

jasonk
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Old 12-28-2003, 22:40   #2 (permalink)
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Re: 302W new head gasket

It's not that hard to do yourself. Once all the injection stuff is disconnected (which does take some time), its just a basic V8 engine. Do both the head gaskets at the same time otherwise you are just asking for trouble. Check the heads for straightness, it takes a lot to warp those iron heads but it is possible. Get good quality Felpro head gaskets and don't reuse your head bolts. A set of ARP head bolts will set you back about $110, don't know what the ford ones cost, but the ARP ones can be reused in the future. Upgradig the heads to newer style GT40P's would be a nice improvement because the stock heads really suck. You may be able to pick up a set for around $1000, which when you consider the cost of reconditioning and machining your stock heads is probably worth it. If you do go for GT40P heads you do have to change your spark plug leads, spark plugs and if you are running stock headers you will need aftermarket extractors like Pacemaker or Genies.
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Old 12-29-2003, 18:03   #3 (permalink)
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Re: 302W new head gasket

Spoke to Mick Webbs SVO in Ringwood today, he reckons he can get the heads for 1500 complete, plus sparks, leads, gaskets, bolts, and 350 labour. Anyone have any experience with them? Seems, so long as they are ford genuine parts they are fine to insurance co (RACV) :) One thing Mick Webb said was that the stock headers will bolt up fine to the new heads, am I gonna have trouble with this? I do plan to go extractors of course, but budget doesn't give me another 1500 for a new exhaust at this stage.

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Old 12-29-2003, 21:35   #4 (permalink)
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Re: 302W new head gasket

Micks o/k...
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Old 12-29-2003, 23:51   #5 (permalink)
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Re: 302W new head gasket

I have delt with Mick a few times and found him to be quite good. He has been around for a long time and knows his stuff. I am surprised the stock headers will actually work, they will bolt up but the spark plug location on the GT40P's are different bringing the plugs closer to the exhaust pipes. I am sure he is right, he has probably done it before, I just thought it would be a very tight fit. Anyway get rid of those stock headers ASAP, they are the worst design possible and will hold the power back quite a bit.
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Old 12-30-2003, 04:08   #6 (permalink)
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Re: 302W new head gasket

Yeah, limited budget means getting new headers really isn't a luxury i can afford at this stage, I'll do the whole exhaust the whole way through when I get to it :). Will need new tyres before that though :( Damn V8, much more fun, but a bit more costly than the old 4 :)

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Old 01-01-2004, 02:38   #7 (permalink)
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Re: 302W new head gasket

Mainly costly due to that nut !!!
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Old 01-01-2004, 20:35   #8 (permalink)
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Re: 302W new head gasket

Hmm. I put GT-40p's on my EL (which probably has the same extractors), and there was no way the original extractors would fit. I eventually got them on (mainly so I could drive to an exhaust place), by "modifying" the originals with an oxy torch and hammer . . . As mentioned, the plugs fouled the extractors . . .

Mick seems to have a good rep tho - so maybe he knows some trick I don't

So its $1500 not including plugs leads etc etc ? All the associated gear will add up (say $100 for leads, $60+ for plugs, $100+ gaskets, $100+ for the bolts).

Give herrods a call for the heads - I would have thought you could do better on the price (although to clarify - are they the Tickford GT-40p's or standard GT-40p's ?)

If you do the work yourself, depending on experience etc, it will probably take you 1 - 2 days. And you want to make sure you have the appropriate tools beforehand (you need at least one odd torx socket...

Last edited by XR8 Lamah; 01-01-2004 at 20:40.
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Old 01-01-2004, 21:20   #9 (permalink)
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Re: 302W new head gasket

I did notice in your "howto" that the oem equipment won't fit. I'm aware that plugs leads etc will all add up, but, I think I'm gonna call around regarding price. Given reading the difficulties you had, I don't think I'm confident in performing the work myself, and given labour is ~350 via Mick, it's just not worth it imo.

One thing I did notice this morning, is that my leads seem to have right angle 'sockets' on the end?? Is this normal?

1500 was for complete heads, not sure if they were tickford or not, but he said there's a version they have worked for 2200 which he said is basically not worth it unless i'm serious about things (cams etc). I think I'll give a few other places a call though at least!

thanks all :)
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Old 01-01-2004, 21:21   #10 (permalink)
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Re: 302W new head gasket

to clarify re: spark leads, I was under the impression that the reason I'd have to change them was because they wouldn't fit, I'd have to get a new set of 90 degree ones (which I already have?).
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