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Keep blowing head gaskets

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by mr. h, Sep 20, 2013.

  1. Rebuilt 302 out of an 80 mustang converted to a roller. Twice in a row it's blowing the head gasket on the driver side. What would cause that?

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  2. And I'm talking blowing it two min into starting it

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  3. Maybe warped head? Warped block deck surface? I'm guessing the surfaces are no longer flat.
    Joined: Jun 28, 2011
    Posts: 388

    from Dinuba

    What symptoms?

  5. 35desoto
    Joined: Oct 6, 2009
    Posts: 770


    Warped head, wrong torqueing of head bolts or studs, blocked water passages causing heat build up, excessive cylinder pressure through water or something else like this entering the combustion chamber. There are a number of reasons as you can see and I may of missed something too
  6. brad chevy
    Joined: Nov 22, 2009
    Posts: 2,627

    brad chevy

    Had this happen to a buddy,he had the wrong head gaskets and he had the heads reversed from how he took them off blew head gasket in less than 2-minutes.The heads look just alike but don"t match up with the water jackets.
  7. I thought 302 heads could go on either side. It runs great for two min the it starts bouncing the engine and blowing white smoke out of the drivers side tail pipe. I lose compression on cylinder 8

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  8. brad chevy
    Joined: Nov 22, 2009
    Posts: 2,627

    brad chevy

    You have a right side head and a left side head,check the water jackets and you will see why. If they are installed wrong you have no water flow.Good thing you had the radiator cap on or it would have been like old faithful.
    Joined: Nov 10, 2005
    Posts: 846

    from Holly

    Heads can fit either side. It's the head gaskets that are side specific.

    Get a straightedge and check the block deck. Across and lengthwise. A .003" feeler should not slide between the surface and s-edge. Same with heads. Any more and it's machine shop time..:mad:
  10. I just bought this thing rebuilt two weeks ago, I've already had it out twice. Doing all this shit by myself really sucks. The builder offered to give me a different head to try so I don't have to pull the engine all the way out again.

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  11. 325w
    Joined: Feb 18, 2008
    Posts: 5,609


    I feel your pain. An older guy told me one time that he never bought an engine that wasn't just rebuilt.
  12. Hotrodbuilderny
    Joined: Mar 20, 2009
    Posts: 1,646


    Run a straight edge on the head and block with a light on the opposite side of what you are looking at.Head gaskets are the same on Ford just one goes on upside down, it has front printed on it, but that will make it over heat not blow head gaskets that quick
  13. Barrelnose pickup
    Joined: Aug 20, 2008
    Posts: 1,298

    Barrelnose pickup

    Does it blow in the same spot each time?If so thats where I would be looking.
    Just a thought.
  14. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 18,376


    Are the head bolts new, or used?
  15. Deuces
    Joined: Nov 3, 2009
    Posts: 20,584

    from Michigan

    I've re-used head bolts without a problem....
  16. 50dodge4x4
    Joined: Aug 7, 2004
    Posts: 3,535


    Might also want to make sure the exhaust system or exhaust port for that cylinder is not blocked somehow. Gene
  17. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 18,376


    Unless they are known new, or known since new, then you have no idea how old they are, or how many times that they have been torqued, or overtorqued.
  18. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,583

    Rusty O'Toole

    Some good suggestions. There are some other possibilities or outside chances.

    Head bolts bottoming out. Caused by dirt in the bolt holes. Or else block or head has been milled and you need to put washers under the head bolts to take up the slack.
  19. Panel Pete
    Joined: Feb 8, 2007
    Posts: 146

    Panel Pete

    Bingo :cool: Listen to these two pieces of advice - I've built a number of and helped many friends with small block fords. These two reasons are the number one killer of head gaskets on a small block ford.

    Sounds like you've put the drivers side head gasket on upside and backwards - look for "FRONT" stamped/embossed on the head gasket. If you're using Felpro blue strip gaskets one side of the gasket will be black while the other will have blue strips. When placed on the block one gasket will have the blue strips facing up while the other will have the black side up.
  20. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 29,616



    Have you taken a straight edge and feeler gauge and checked the head and block to see if they are straight?

    Added to that are you torquing the heads correctly? Following the torque pattern and going up in increments?
  21. PackardV8
    Joined: Jun 7, 2007
    Posts: 892


    Good suggestions all. Make sure you've got real-deal Felpro or Cometic head gaskets. There's a lot of Chicom junk out there.

    When you have the head off this time, run a thread chaser or a tap (yeah, I know, but I've used taps successfully for fifty years) down all the head bolt holes. Wire brush the bolt threads.

    jack vines
  22. I'd look for that too. Take a close look at the head and block in that area. The spot should be obvious, get someone else to look at it perhaps.

    If you want to try the straightedge and feeler gauge, make sure you use a machinist's straightedge. A piece of stock isn't good enough. Check the block surfaces too, corner to corner both ways and right up the center (horizontally).

    If that comes up good, have both heads checked for cracks. The charge is pretty low.


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