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289 blown head gasket

 
fair67driver
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Posts: 161
Joined: 03/08
Posted: 04/08/10 11:18 AM

I am looking for some different opinions as to why the head gasket would blow on a recently built 289. the block was decked, has 9.5:1 compression, new Trick Flow aluminum heads, and I used new head bolts and torqued to spec. The cam is a .512 lift cam with two four barrels. It has been balanced. I used the recommended head gaskets for those heads.
I have yet to disassemble the engine, but I suspect stretched head bolt or bolts.
The engine has a few hundred miles on it with no trouble. When we put it on the chassis dyno and began a pull, it blew and began heating up in a hurry with plenty bubbles in the radiator.
I will disassemble it this weekend and try head studs instead of bolts. I had a big block once that periodically blew head gaskets until I installed studs, but it was nearly 12:1 compression. Any ideas? Thanks in advance.  
1967 Fairlane 289-4v auto...for now
1967 Galaxie 500 302-soon to be 534
2007 Mustang
1979 F-250 EXT CAB
4X4
2006 Taurus

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slud
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Posts: 86
Joined: 02/09
Posted: 04/08/10 12:14 PM

First, what specs? In my old book, it calls for 65-72 ft lbs. A couple of years ago, Fel-Pro did a study on the 289 engine, and they found that when you torqued down the intake, it lifted the head slighly, enough to alter head bolt torque. We used ARP studs on my son's 289, and they called for the altered torque, [ I THINK, can't remember] Maybe someone else will remember, or have the specs for you, but that problem is the first thing I would say is wrong. Good Luck!  

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waynep7122
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Posts: 146
Joined: 10/09
Posted: 04/08/10 06:47 PM

first.. i would find a beam type torque wrench..   and a 15 mm 12 point socket...  set your click type torque wrench to 65 foot pounds.. hook the two together with the 15 mm socket..    bend the beam type torque wrench..  i usually use a bit of blue masking tape as a guide.. see if the click type torque wrench is accurate..  

test it at 35 foot pounds..

test it at 65 foot pounds..

test it at 100 foot pounds..


why... i have personal experience.....  in an engine rebuilding shop i went to work at.. they were having head gasket failures..  i brought my brand new craftsman torque wrench in.. tested the wrenches.. some were off 20 foot pounds at 65.....

the boss did not want to spend a ton of money replacing all the torque wrenches.. i talked him into a wall mounted torque wrench tester..   i mounted it.. the staff of builders was told to use it every time.. it was in the middle of the shop.. no more than 20 steps from any work bench..   they took it off the wall and threw it at me... told me it was not accurate.. as each of their wrenches read different..  and they knew their wrenches were accurate.. they had been using them for years...

on an early monday morning.. i came in.. checked their wrenches.. most were set to 65 foot pounds.. some were set to 105 foot pounds..     nuff said.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

click type  torque wrenches are to be stored with the adjuster backed all the way off.. at 0 or below...  if you find it stored with the adjuster set above 0 .. even for 20 minutes..  test it against a quality beam type torque wrench.. if you can still find one..      for racers.. if the ARP trailer shows up at your race... write down your torque settings that you use on your car.. take the torque wrench to their trailer..   they will test it at the settings and tell you how far off it is at each setting..  or label it for head. rod and main.. use this setting.....

most torque wrench manufacturers have a calibration and repair service..  including sears.... snap on.. mac,  matco, cornwell.. and i think there is a major shop in texas that will repair and/or  calibrate any brand...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

now... before you swapped the heads for aluminum versions.. did you run a bottoming tap into the head bolt holes to clean them out all the way to the last thread..


there have been to many cases... where the heads are surfaced.. the bolts put back into the heads and torqued down.. but this makes the bolts thread into the block farther..  runs right into the corrosion..   stopping the pulling down of the head on the head gasket..  but it does cause the torque wrench to click...  i have had them stop a full turn before the bolt contacts the head..


to prevent this.. run a tap in..  some people don't like to use a regular machine tap.. as they have run into problems .. i never have..  but i use quality taps...    beware... there are TAPS for threading chrome nuts before they are chromed that are oversize.. if you get one of these.. you will be sorry..

do not let a  helper do this..  i let one of the builders use my special tap for high speed tapping..   he was using a power drill..  after he tapped the head bolt holes .. he was using it to clean the corrosion out of the water passages..  he had only been building engines for 30 years..




with aluminum heads.. on any motor.. i have found that coating the gaskets with Hylomar sealer will prevent any leaks..

i hate leaks.. leaks mean i have to do it again.. i hate doing it again..  so i do it right the first time.. if it takes extra time.. its still less time than doing it again..   a 5 to 20 buck tube of hylomar has saved me from horrible redos many times.. one car came back.. with no cooling fan operation..  it looked like a old fashion steam locomotive.. but it did not blow the head gaskets that i had installed 3 weeks before.. ..  it was an all aluminum chevy LS1. motor..  i told the owner that the cooling fans were not going to work for long running all the time..   they melted..  the head gaskets did not..

i have lost where i was going..   but you get the idea..

oh yea...    when torquing the heads. bring it up in stages...   watching out for bolts that don't turn the same amount as the others when you are increasing the torque up to the proper level..    you know you have a problem ... when one bolt stops turning at 45 foot pounds and the others turn till you reach final torque..


i hope this helps a few people... and the engine  rebuilding shops i worked at... closed many years ago..


its almost a shame.. that all the stuff i type is only read by a hand full and a bunch of webbots..... not taken by the staff and formed into some kind of tech article..  

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fair67driver
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Posts: 161
Joined: 03/08
Posted: 04/09/10 04:51 AM

To answer some of your questions, I tap all the holes on my blocks before assembly-even oil pan bolts. I used Fel-Pro gaskets. The torque wrench I used was my brand new Snap-On 1/2" drive, but just because it is new doesn't mean it is correct....
My taps are Snap-On as well.
I did not use the hylomar coating on the gaskets. I will admit that I have been in the diesel business quite a while now.....maybe my gas engines are aggravated at me,lol. I will look up the specs I used because I do not build enough gas engines any more to memorize the specs. Does any one have any reservations about using studs? Thanks again.  
1967 Fairlane 289-4v auto...for now
1967 Galaxie 500 302-soon to be 534
2007 Mustang
1979 F-250 EXT CAB
4X4
2006 Taurus

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Falcon67
Enthusiast
Posts: 543
Joined: 12/06
Posted: 04/09/10 05:36 AM

I use nothing but studs.  For the Felpro's if you are using are Felpro Blue, you do not use any sealer on them.  In fact - AFAIK, you never yse any sealer on any Felpro head gasket.  Sealer, paint, etc is for steel shim head gaskets, not MLS ot other common types.  The block deck and head deck need to be clean - clean enough to lick - and dry as the desert.  No fingerprints, etc.  And don't touch the gasket surface when installing.  I use the clicker wrenches and have had no head sealing issues.

Note - I use studs because it reduces wear and stress on the block threads.  ARP studs are made of different material than stock head bolts and will have a different torque spec.  The fastener has to be stretched a certain amount to get the right clamp loading and keep it secure and tight.  
1967 Falcon 4 door - 351C
1970 Mustang coupe - 351C
http://raceabilene.com/kelly/hotrod
Owner built, owner abused.

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fair67driver
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Posts: 161
Joined: 03/08
Posted: 04/09/10 06:01 AM

I have ordered the stud kitand gaskets, but have yet to see them. Can I assume the stud kit will come with torque specs? If not, Can I assume I will be able to contact ARP for that info? I know what you get when you assume....I am using the blue gaskets. I should be able to tell what happened upon teardown. Thanks.  
1967 Fairlane 289-4v auto...for now
1967 Galaxie 500 302-soon to be 534
2007 Mustang
1979 F-250 EXT CAB
4X4
2006 Taurus

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MustangMan
Moderator
Posts: 588
Joined: 07/06
Posted: 04/09/10 06:04 AM

Great post Wayne...

I do read every post on this forum, usually within a day of them being posted. Sometimes I'm traveling or it is the weekend and it takes a few days for me to get to them, but I do read every one.

We do listen to our readers and I have taken editorial consideration to many of the posts on here asking for certain stories or expanding on a problem or using a tip in a story, so don't feel you are "wasting" your time posting here. Plus, while we may not have 10K members like some big Mustang site, our Google ranking is quite high and are forums are indexed for searching. Meaning, if someone searches for a head gasket fix for a 289, this thread will come up in the search and you have an opportunity to help someone outside this forum, AND they might just join the forum to comment/post/ask a question, which in turn grows our community here.

A perfect example of this is the Shaker 500 audio system post. People have problems with their audio in the '05 and up Mustang, search on it, find the post here, and join to comment. Same with the rare '83 GT Mustang thread. Hopefully these people return to post more.

Thanks to you, Slud, Falcon67 and the other "regulars" for helping out, as I am but one person and don't always have the time to research an answer and post on here.

Have a great weekend all, and Fair, I hope you have great luck with the second set of gaskets. While I've never had any major problems with a standard Fel-Pro, I suggest upgrading to MLS gaskets. That's all I use in my builds now...

Mark  
Mark Houlahan
Brand Manager
Mustang Monthly Magazine

1965 FFR Roadster 427W/TKO-600 5-speed
1966 Mustang 289-4V/C4 Auto
1968 Mustang 4.6L Three-Valve/5R55S Auto
1990 Mustang 306/AOD
2002 Explorer Sport Trac 4.0L V-6/5R55 Auto
2005 F-150 4x2 4.2L V-6/4R70W Auto

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Falcon67
Enthusiast
Posts: 543
Joined: 12/06
Posted: 04/11/10 08:12 PM

ARP's web site has a link to the catalog in PDF and it has all the torque specs for every bolt they offer.

http://www.arp-bolts.com/Tech/TechTorque.html  
1967 Falcon 4 door - 351C
1970 Mustang coupe - 351C
http://raceabilene.com/kelly/hotrod
Owner built, owner abused.

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fair67driver
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Posts: 161
Joined: 03/08
Posted: 04/12/10 02:11 PM

Well, I now have the rest of the story from the car owner. The car was run for about 15 minutes or so to warm the engine. Then it was strapped to the dyno and put under a load. At that point the stock rad began boiling over, but the gauge was at 185F. (I know gauges can be wrong) They shut the engine down and removed the rad cap. They then ran it again and said there were large quantities of bubbles in the rad with acceleration. When shut down, it did not act as if it were hot. Still only showing 185F. I was not there.

Fast forward to this weekend...The heads were removed, but I could not find a place on the head gasket that appeared to have been leaking or damaged-there was also no coolant in the oil. #8 piston was however "cleaner" than the rest. I can not find any cracks in any cylinder walls. I was not able to pressure test the system before the heads were pulled. All the spark plugs appear normal to slightly rich. The head bolts appeared perfect.

I am concerned that I can see no problems in my parts. The car has a March pulley set, but they are not underdrive. My question is: Is it possible that the stock water pump is cavatating at higher RPMs? We have an aluminum rad and a set of studs and gaskets. Again, I was not there, but I believe the engine was not hot due to the people that were present all agreed it did not diesel when shutoff, or act hot in any other way. Thanks again.  
1967 Fairlane 289-4v auto...for now
1967 Galaxie 500 302-soon to be 534
2007 Mustang
1979 F-250 EXT CAB
4X4
2006 Taurus

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waynep7122
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Posts: 146
Joined: 10/09
Posted: 04/12/10 09:02 PM

when you  mentioned .. recent built...

i did not think 15 minutes from the engine stand...

did they get the head gaskets on the correct direction....

you do realize... that one side is always   face down.....  

the largest openings have to be at the back of the block....  for coolant flow...


from the water pump...   into the block... around the cylinders..  up through the openings at the back of the gasket.. forward through the heads.. to the intake crossover.. back through the BYPASS until the coolant is up to temp when it opens the thermostat....

this picture is bottom up...

http://contentinfo.autozone.com/znetcs/product-info/en/US/fpr/9333PT-1/image/8/

notice the extra openings in the left end of the gasket...  those go toward the back of the block...

if you put them toward the front of the block... you direct the coolant into the block and straight up into the intake .. without cooling the back of the block and the back of the head..  

on factory replacement gaskets.. there is usually a square tab that sticks out from under the front corner of the head..

upper right on this image has the square corner..

not all the high performance gaskets have the square corner tab...



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


how about the water pump.....  is it a normal rotation.. a reverse rotation.. or a universal rotation...

some of the universal pumps...   have straight blades on the impeller..    so they will work either way...  have had problems...

you might be able to see up the lower hose outlet..   or buy a set of water pump gaskets.. and pull the rear water pump covers..


they don't have enough flow...      got a pressure gauge...  when you put it back together..  tee it into the intake water crossover.. 30 or 50 pound will usually work...    remember the pumps without a thermostat can act like a fire pump... throw water many feet at high rpms..     the thermostat blocking the coolant flow.. and the restriction of the bypass hose  increase the internal pressure in the block..     this raises the boiling point even more..      3 degrees F per pound of pressure..  

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fair67driver
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Posts: 161
Joined: 03/08
Posted: 04/13/10 04:31 AM

I am confident the gaskets were on correctly and there is a 190F thermostat in place. The water pump is normal rotation and is a stock replacement. One thing I forgot to mention....this is a Shelby block. This car has been driven around on the street and at shows with no issues. how long does a gas burner need to run to obviously mark the head gasket? Being a diesel man by trade-they have enough compression to immediately mark the gaskets.
I will double check the gaskets for correct position upon reassembly. I will pull the engine this weekend and give her one more inspection before reassembly. Thanks  
1967 Fairlane 289-4v auto...for now
1967 Galaxie 500 302-soon to be 534
2007 Mustang
1979 F-250 EXT CAB
4X4
2006 Taurus

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slud
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Posts: 86
Joined: 02/09
Posted: 04/14/10 12:44 PM

Ok, does the car have a heater core in it? You could have air trapped in core, that did not bleed out after only 15 minutes of being run. Also, there is an [ old?] trick of drilling a hole in the top of the stat to help it bleed out air faster. Also, I double checked, and in 66 you could get a water pump with or without the plate on the back of the pump. I don't know for sure, but it seems like they had 2 different timing covers on that motor..thick or thin?Long shot, I know, but sometimesparts get swapped around...might check to make sure that the impeller stayed on, too. I have had brand new ones fall off. Good luck with search .  

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fair67driver
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Posts: 161
Joined: 03/08
Posted: 04/19/10 04:52 AM

Well, I can find no problem wit any of my parts and I am in the process of reassembling it again. This time I am using studs instead of bolts. If I still have problems I will be using another short block. Thanks for the opinions.  
1967 Fairlane 289-4v auto...for now
1967 Galaxie 500 302-soon to be 534
2007 Mustang
1979 F-250 EXT CAB
4X4
2006 Taurus

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fair67driver
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Posts: 161
Joined: 03/08
Posted: 05/04/10 04:31 AM

OK, update. As I was re-assembling the engine, I noticed that the brand E two fours intake doesn't have a coolant passage for either side on the rear of the intake. The front of the intake has the coolant passages. This intake does not have any "holes" rearward of the cylinder head ports.
The Trick Flow heads have coolant passages near the rear of the heads to flow coolant into the intake.....as you would expect. Being relatively new to the small blocks, if the coolant doesn't flow back to the front of the engine through the intake, how is it supposed to flow?
Next question: How is the manual temp probe supposed to work with no antifreeze flowing around it? (the hole is in behind the back carb, straight down into a coolant runner)
Forgive me for my ignorance, but I do not see how this thing will ever cool correctly without flowing coolant back to the front through the intake.
Any thoughts? Perhaps this intake will not work with these heads???  
1967 Fairlane 289-4v auto...for now
1967 Galaxie 500 302-soon to be 534
2007 Mustang
1979 F-250 EXT CAB
4X4
2006 Taurus

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slud
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Posts: 86
Joined: 02/09
Posted: 05/04/10 12:48 PM

I just checked my 351 4 bbl intake, and a newer 302 FI intake and neither has coolant passages in the rear. So the coolant has to flow from left to right, or vice versa. Your heads or intake is not the issue...double-check all of the information above,assemble slowly and you'll be ok. Plz post what you found out about problem.  

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