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Author Topic: External Head Gasket leak (I think)  (Read 393 times)

rls120

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    • 1991 Mercury Capri xr2, 1994 Wrangler, 1994 Saab
External Head Gasket leak (I think)
« on: May 30, 2018, 08:32:29 PM »

I thought it was the coolant pipe behind the turbo, so I pulled it and the manifold.  Water is seeping out of the interface between the head and the block about two thirds of the way back (right around #3 cylinder).  I retorqued the head bolts (no joy), so I guess a head gasket job is in my future.  I've got several questions:

1.  Is this a common failure mode?  Anything else I should know about?

2.  The manual says I need to get #1 on TDC prior to pulling the timing belt:  Anyone know the procedure?  I know I can't get my finger down on top of the piston to feel when it gets there. . . . . :)

3.  I'll be checking the head with a straightedge once I get it off.  What are the odds I'll be needing to send it to a shop for milling?

The benefit of any of your experience will be appreciated!

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boomingbeetle

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    • '92 XR2, '71 Porsche 914, '79 Trans Am, 13 Outback
Re: External Head Gasket leak (I think)
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2018, 11:54:30 PM »

#1, I donít think that is very common although I had a Jeep do this once.

#2, you can rotate the motor until the rotor under the distributor lines up with the #1 spark plug lead, or put a chopstick down into the spark plug hole (its longer and thinner than your finger).  Or you can look up the procedure for changing the timing belt and follow the pics/marks on the cam and crank pulleys. I think itís the same as the Miata B6 procedure

#3, straightedge yes, but more importantly look for a crack. IMHO donít pay to have it milled
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WashiestSnake

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Re: External Head Gasket leak (I think)
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2018, 10:32:30 AM »

Can confirm it's exactly the same procedure as on a Miata B6. You can use a socket extension or like bloomingbettle said a  Chopstick. If you want a video guide look up TheCarPassionChannel on youtube, he has a good video showing you how to do it.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2018, 02:08:48 PM by WashiestSnake »
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1991 Mercury Capri 68,xxx Miles--Project(AWD)
1996 Lincoln Continental -- The Boat(Given to my Brother)

rls120

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    • 1991 Mercury Capri xr2, 1994 Wrangler, 1994 Saab
Re: External Head Gasket leak (I think)
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2018, 07:02:08 PM »

Thanks for your ideas, guys!  I'll be tearing into it in the next few days (hope!).  I'll keep you updated.
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Rocketman

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Re: External Head Gasket leak (I think)
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2018, 10:00:19 PM »

1. Not a common failure mode. I did have an oil leak in this same fashion though, I believe due to a budget no-name head gasket I used
2. The methods above are acceptable, but it is not strictly necessary. It is a non-interference engine. That said, it is easier to keep track of things. I use the Vee cut into the timing belt cog on the crank, it lines up with an indicator cast into the oil pump housing
3. Agree with looking for a crack, check with a straight edge. Look at the old head gasket and see if there is an apparent breach in the head gasket. If the head looks bad then do have it milled, the FSM has some specs for how much can be removed. Too much and it will screw with the cam timing and valve clearance. This shouldn't be an issue though

Good luck!
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1.8L Turbo All Wheel Drive Capri... the "GTXR2"


pilotlars

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    • 1993 Mercury Capri
Re: External Head Gasket leak (I think)
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2018, 01:28:30 PM »

I just discovered on my 1.6 NA that the lower timing belt covers must be installed before the upper one. The car came to me with them damaged from the timing belt flapping around in there so I had to get new ones... I went to the mazda dealer because Ford was useless lol. If our engines are the same it's easier to remove the front-engine motor mount and the bracket it attaches too. Then I removed the power steering hoses so there's room to get your hands in there. i thought it would take a little while to do this but it took all afternoon into the evening. The intake and exhaust sprockets are labled with I and E although they're interchangeable. There are notches at TDC for each one and they line up with bumps in the metal plate behind them. That's not a problem if your belt didn't rip of course... oh and the crankshaft pulleys and sprocket also have marks on them. But a chopstick or other skinny soft object should work great if eveyrthing is still connected properly.
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rls120

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    • 1991 Mercury Capri xr2, 1994 Wrangler, 1994 Saab
Re: External Head Gasket leak (I think)
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2018, 05:31:53 PM »

Finally got around to working on this thing again today. . . . .and found out several interesting things!

1.  The head gasket had failed between a coolant passage and the edge of the block.  The 'channel' in the gasket was also moving back towards the adjacent combustion chamber.  Probably happened when the car overheated one night after the fan belt broke. . . . .and my wife drove it 18 miles home!  This happened about 3-4 months before we noticed the coolant leak.  (My fault for not checking the condition of the fan belts before putting the car into service)

2.   The inner fender is RIGHT in the way of getting to the lower timing belt cover, adjusters, etc.  (at least it appears that way to me.  I can tell the belt has been replaced (car has 170,000 miles on it, and the belt looks like new, and the upper cover has a groove where a flapping belt tore it up some time ago).  I marked everything and carefully pried the belt off of the cam gears, and hope to carefully pry it back on when its time to reassemble (waiting on new heater hoses now).  Has anyone else successfully pulled that off?

3.  Could someone with a 1991 XR2 possible take a few pictures of vacuum hose routing and post them?  I've got idle problems, and I suspect that some of those hoses (especially the half dozen or so going to the very top of the throttle plenum) may have been misrouted from the get go.

Thanks, everyone for all of your help and comments.  Rocketman was right:  he said in a different thread that head removal is 'very invasive' on these cars.  I agree!
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pilotlars

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Re: External Head Gasket leak (I think)
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2018, 06:17:24 PM »

XR2s have fan belts??? There is a splash shield under the metal part of the fender that comes off to expose the crankshaft pulley. The timing belt covers can be removed after the accessory belts and pulleys are removed. 10mm Wrenches are necessary for the water pump pulley due to lack of space. I find removeing the front engine mount and bracket helps in providing access. I even removed the PS hoses because they were in the way.
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Rocketman

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Re: External Head Gasket leak (I think)
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2018, 10:18:05 PM »

To number 2: There's a little tool that you sticks in between the cam gears to lock them into position, so you don't lose position with them. You can make one if you're handy, Ford makes one, I've also seen a 3D-printable version. The force of the valvesprings will likely spoil your position without it.

Did you loosen the T-belt tensioner before prying the belt off? If not that is pretty stressful on the belt
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1.8L Turbo All Wheel Drive Capri... the "GTXR2"


Gas

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    • 1993 Mercury Capri
Re: External Head Gasket leak (I think)
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2018, 09:36:02 AM »

Quote
To number 2: There's a little tool that you sticks in between the cam gears to lock them into position, so you don't lose position with them. You can make one if you're handy

When I did the timing belt on mine, I couldn't see the use in buying a tool for how rarely I would use it, so just made due with what I had in the toolbox. I used a wrench on each cam with the handles overlapping, and a vise grip connecting them together. It worked surprisingly well.
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pilotlars

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Re: External Head Gasket leak (I think)
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2018, 02:14:07 PM »

I was going to suggest that approach! i've seen that online I'm sure... It seems too clever and cheap for me to have thought of it myself lol. Since mine had a ripped timing belt when i bought it I had to position the cams individually then lock them in place so they don't move. I think I succeded.
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rls120

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    • 1991 Mercury Capri xr2, 1994 Wrangler, 1994 Saab
Re: External Head Gasket leak (I think)
« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2018, 09:40:19 AM »

Update:
1.  New timing belt and adjusters are here, and the old adjusters are off.  (Thanks to you guys, I figured out how to get to everything.)

2.  The cylinder head is sitting on the new head gasket, ready to torque down. 

Thanks again for the help!

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SHOwn

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Re: External Head Gasket leak (I think)
« Reply #12 on: July 04, 2018, 08:45:34 PM »

For the record, XR2S can lift the head and break the head gasket seal an mine did and was pushing oil out the right front corner near the oil return passage. May not be common, but mine also overheated once, breaking one of those pencil thin coolant hoses feeding the turbo.
I went with ARP head studs and a Cometic head gasket and a mill job.
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R. Powell
'91 XR2, LM 16" Chrome Drifters, White Gauge Faces, Kuhmo 40's, Big Brake UG, 2.5" Mandrel Bent CATback, BMW318 Heated Seats, `94 console, '99 Dodge Neon Spoiler, '94 XR2 Sideskirts Bumpers and taillights, Fresh Basecoat-Clearcoat Cardinal Red (Jul2014), vj11/vj14 hybrid, manual boost CTL.