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Discussion Starter #1
I need this like a hole in my head, but yes I have a hole in my cylinder head. I live up in the New England rust belt and I brought my truck in for what I thought was going to be just another replacement of rusted out exhaust manifolds only to find the leak was not from the manifold, but the casting of the cylinder head rotted out and I have a dime size hole in the exhaust port on the drivers side. The passenger side head has not perforated yet, but is likely not far behind. The truck only had 80,000 miles on it, but it's New England and it's does some snow plowing. Rust is my biggest enemy. I have no reason to think the block has anything wrong with it. so I just need some new heads. Can/should this be done with the engine in the truck? I don't have a lift, so I can't lift off the cab. Any suggestions on where to buy heads? there are many places selling them, but what's the quality? Should I just buy them from Ford, or is there anything better in the aftermarket? I do plan to keep this truck for many more years. My budget is always as little as possible, but as much as necessary. I don't want to over pay and waste money, but I don't want to cheap out either. Any suggestions appreciated.

Thanks

Roger
 

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Funny you bring that up, I am getting ready to pull and replace the passenger side head on a 7.3 this evening that has the same problem. You can do it without pulling the cab or engine and the drivers side will be easier since the HVAC box isn't in the way. You will need new head gasket, injector cups and O rings, a new exhaust manifold and bolts, new head bolts, and it would be a good time to replace the up-pipes as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The up pipes were replaced a few years back, they still look good. I have the manifolds and bolts. I need to research the injector cups, I know nothing about them. Any recommendations on where to purchase new heads? Many places sell them, but who would have the best product? I'm afraid to get a set of rebuilt heads that are thin from rust like mine and only last a few more years on rust belt life. The Ford heads have a core charge, so they must also be rebuilt heads.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I was also looking at this vendor. The price is great and their core return policy is awesome. It appears they will take anything back as a core as long as it's complete, so my ventilated heads should not be refused.
 

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This is just an exhaust leak then?

I gotta tell ya,,,, if it were Me, I'd fire-up the Tig torch and Silicone Bronze right over that sucker! ;)

I mean, I guess you wouldn't want to do this if it's just going to show-up again, in other spots, over the next year or two but,,, maybe it wouldn't...
 

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dealing with removing/installing a 7.3 head is not fun. not even with alcohol

I blew mine in my e99 the last time mine was hooked to the sled.
if it was me, I'd do anything and everything before removing it while in frame.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
This is just an exhaust leak then?

I gotta tell ya,,,, if it were Me, I'd fire-up the Tig torch and Silicone Bronze right over that sucker! ;)

I mean, I guess you wouldn't want to do this if it's just going to show-up again, in other spots, over the next year or two but,,, maybe it wouldn't...
I've thought of it, but I'm not great with the TIG. Otherwise the truck ran perfect.
 

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It wasn't that bad it took me about 3.5 hours.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
How hard was it to break the head bolts loose? Were they rusty?
If your referring to my exhaust manifold bolts, they were super rusty, the heads were reduced in size so the socket didn't fit anymore. I wasted a day welding nuts on then trying to break them loose, but only got 4 loose. Had to cut the rest. The shanks of the bolt were rusted solid to the manifold. I just replaced these manifolds and bolts with new Ford parts just 5? years ago. I anti-sized everything and torqued them properly and removing them again was still a disaster.
 

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How hard was it to break the head bolts loose? Were they rusty?
One of the bottom head bolts was so bad I had to weld a cheap wrench to the bolt head to break it loose, then cut it off and spin the bolt out with some pliers, the rest came out just fine. I cut all the exhaust manifold bolts with a die grinder and cutoff wheel.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I'm thinking of just pulling the engine rather than try to replace the heads in the truck. I've pulled many engines, but never a 7.3. I know a real shop would lift off the body, but I don't have a lift, the ceiling height or a real shop to do that. Can the engine just be pulled up and out red neck style? With a chain and a forklift? Pulling the engine would let me clean up the engine compartment better and probably change the rusty oil pan while I'm at it.
 

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You can pull a 7.3 just like most engines, no need to lift the cab. It weighs about 1000 lbs so be sure to have a good hoist and engine stand.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I did see in a YouTube video that the upper radiator support is removable although I'm hoping to not disturb my A/C charge.

While I have this thing this far apart, is there anything else I should be doing? My truck has only 80K miles on it and ran good, so I have no reason to think there is anything wrong with the short block, but should I pull a few caps and plastigauge the clearance to check, or not disturb anything?
 

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I wouldn't touch anything on the bottom end. If your oil pan has rust on it I would replace it along with the dipstick tube adapter and o rings.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Do I use Motorcraft head gaskets & Bolts or should I do something fancy like ARP bolts?

Please let me know what those CHI heads look like when they arrive.
 

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Do I use Motorcraft head gaskets & Bolts or should I do something fancy like ARP bolts?

Please let me know what those CHI heads look like when they arrive.
stick with oem. unless you plan on building a sled pulling truck the arp studs are an unnecessary cost. I have never seen a 7.3L with bad headgaskets. don't get me wrong its happened but its so rare and usually a totally messed up truck or messing with tuners and turbos without checking stuff etc.
 

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I almost forgot about this thread. The head from the link I posted seemed to be machined well and already had new injector cups in it. I used Felpro head gaskets and bolts, he has been driving it for a couple of weeks and the only problem was one of the fuel banjo bolt orings on the back of the head was bad and it caused a fuel leak after a couple weeks, so if you get a head from them pull the banjo bolts and replace the orings before you install it.
 
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