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  #1  
Old 02-21-2012
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Advice on 3.0 head/gasket failure

Looking for some advice on my 99 ranger


short story: 123k miles head/headgasket bad, anitfreeze pouring out exhaust. Should I fix or junk the the truck for $450?


long story:
About three months ago I heard a loud pop and the check engine light came on traveling up a slight highway grade (65mph). I usually just drive around town and the truck does not see much highway use. The error code was a cylinder misfire #5. The exhaust tube going to the egr was blown out and I had an occasional rough idle. So I replaced the tube, installed new wires, plugs, oil, filter and did a coolant flush.

This did not fix the check engine light, but the rough idle seemed to get better. Then last week on another highway drive the truck started missing repeatedly. I tried to nurse it home but then the temp gauge started to bounce between normal and high. This lasted for about a minute. (gauge went pass high) Then i pulled over. Checked under the hood and my expansion tank was full but I'd say the engine over heated. So I had the truck towed home.

Once in the garage I check the radiator, it was low/empty. I added a few gallons of water and tried to start the truck. The truck ran, but very rough. The expansion tank was bubbling and my exhaust filled with coolant.

So what should I do? Again the truck is a 99 with 123k miles. I live in the rust belt and the body is getting some holes in it. The junk yard will give me $450. However its the only truck I have ever owned (had it since I was 16, currently 28). Should I even bother taking this thing apart or is it a waste of time?

Thanks for the help and sorry for the information overload but I wanted to be as specific as possible.
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  #2  
Old 02-21-2012
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dude fix the truck that mileage is nothing for a 3.0. I have never heard of your situation seems like i have no F'ing idea
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  #3  
Old 02-21-2012
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Mine lost the head gasket too. Similar way, just not as abrupt. If I filled the radiator, the exhuast would pressurize the coolant system, and once the pressure got to high it would blast into the overflow tank, and splash all over. As long as I left the coolant level in the radiator at about 3/4 full, the truck would be fine, just with a little bubbling in the overflow. Obviously it was on borrowed time.

If you like the truck I'd fix it. It's not a big project to do the head gaskets on these, and total cost won't be much either. I would check your frame really well and evaluate the truck and make a decision.

If you got the time, while you have the head and intakes off I'd do some simple porting. The lower intake has a welded seem that should be ground down, and the head has a very pronounce casting seam that could use some smoothing out. Don't worry about enlarging, just smooth things out. I did on mine, don't really know what the results were, cause the truck wasn't running 100% from the day I bought it till I did the head gaskets. But based on how bad people put down the power output of these engines, I'd say it woke it up a bit.

Another thing to consider is a motor swap. All depends on what you use the truck for and your priorities.
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Old 02-22-2012
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Im currently tearing apart my engine. 125k and cylinder 1 shoots out coolant when it is started with the plug out.

Any advice on tearing apart the heads? I have the coil pack, alt, and all the hoses off. now just working on the head.
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  #5  
Old 02-22-2012
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Also did your truck run extremely rich with the bad headgasket? I pulled my plugs and they are black haha
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  #6  
Old 02-22-2012
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i did my heads not too long ago-6 cracked exhaust seals-650 bucks to reman them.

bought new heads from dover cyl. heads. there awesome and included gaskets and bolts.

dont junk it. more than likely youll notice the truck be alot peppier when you change the heads!


also like stated above may want to consider doing a engine swap if you got the time!
edit again-when you take the driver side head off-make sure you get all the bolts off the power steering pump bracket-dont just yank on it or pry it. i broke mine doing that not knowing there was another hidden bolt. go slow, take your time, and clean **** while you in there, rockers, rods, lifters, lifter plate, etc... let them soak in a good mineral spirit bath over night.
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Old 02-23-2012
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I'm not sure if the truck was running rich, the plugs were original though.
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  #8  
Old 02-23-2012
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Thank you for the advice. Starting to take it apart now to see how bad things are.
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  #9  
Old 02-23-2012
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I just did my lower intake gasket in 12 hours....
anyways, 123k isn't too bad for a 3.0. If you do a good job you'll get at least another 100k out of it.
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  #10  
Old 02-25-2012
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Got the heads off yesterday, the gasket failed at cylinder 5. Now to decide between new heads or a junk yard engine. M&M You Pull It claims to have an engine for 200, will check that out next week. New heads with gaskets/bolts are around 350.
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  #11  
Old 02-25-2012
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Get the reman heads. A junk yard engine will probably have a failure eventually, or was taken to the junkyard for a bad head gasket. All I did was pull every valve and give the seats a really good visual inspection, mine was fine. As long as you have no cracked seats, just clean them up, lap the valves and use new valve seals. Using a reman head will be the easier option, and you will get a head with better valve sealing.
Once you do the heads you won't have to worry about anything major again. The only other things to go on these motors are random sensors/alternators/etc.
While you got everything off make sure to replace the cam position sensor. They get sloppy over time and will cause power loss.
When you get everything in order make sure you test ALL vacuum lines for leaks. My 4x4 unit was causing a leak even when it wasn't engaged. Vacuum leaks can eventually eat away head gaskets as you are running lean and higher combustion temps.
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  #12  
Old 02-29-2012
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Still on the fence as what to do with the truck. I decided to drain the oil today (should have done this sooner) and quite a bit of coolant came out. I was told the coolant would eat up the bearings. Hate to buy new heads and have the bottom end fail. Should I pull the engine right out and do a further inspection? Also I was not able to locate a used engine.

thanks again
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  #13  
Old 02-29-2012
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dont quote me on this but for some reason i feel like i read a easy way to test the piston rings on that was to put oil on top of the piston when its all the way pushed down and see how fast the oil seeps thru. that could be a total crock though. how long has it been sitting?
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  #14  
Old 02-29-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by supersnowman View Post
Still on the fence as what to do with the truck. I decided to drain the oil today (should have done this sooner) and quite a bit of coolant came out. I was told the coolant would eat up the bearings. Hate to buy new heads and have the bottom end fail. Should I pull the engine right out and do a further inspection? Also I was not able to locate a used engine.

thanks again
At most I'd run some engine flush thru it. Just do it.

Was the coolant mixed in with the oil or just on top? If it was just on top it could have spilled into the crankcase when you pulled the heads.
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  #15  
Old 02-29-2012
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The truck has been sitting for two weeks, coolant was on bottom ( water is heavier than oil ). Hopefully that kept it away from the bearings. Thanks again, I'm learning a lot.
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  #16  
Old 02-29-2012
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Not to be one of those guys but its not only that water is heavier its that oil is less dense.

Knowledge is power!
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  #17  
Old 03-01-2012
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Well im halfway through pulling my heads, only cyl 1 is leaking so im going to attempt to only pull one side.

Its gonna cost 40 bucks to get my head resurfaced, checked for cracks.

should cost about 100 bucks for it all. I just need the truck to last till august when I can toss in a 5.0 with internship money.
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  #18  
Old 03-01-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PAShooter View Post
Well im halfway through pulling my heads, only cyl 1 is leaking so im going to attempt to only pull one side.

Its gonna cost 40 bucks to get my head resurfaced, checked for cracks.

should cost about 100 bucks for it all. I just need the truck to last till august when I can toss in a 5.0 with internship money.
I know you are just buying time, but I'd pull the other one and at least change the gasket. If one went out the other can't be far behind. August is still 5 months away. I am pretty sure the main reason for head gasket issues on these trucks is either excessive carb buildup which causes detonation that eat away the gaskets, or lean running conditions from vacuum leaks (I've found many on mine) that cause increased combustion temps, that eats away the gaskets. Either way, both are gonna be in similar shape.
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  #19  
Old 03-05-2012
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2000 Ranger. 3.0 #5 AND # 6 Cylinder misfiring. Replaced plugs and wires. Still missing. Now coolant overflow is bubbling when shut off. Today went out to move truck and overflow is empty and radiator is low, but no sign of antifreeze in oil and no obvious leaks. Truck is not running hot either. Any answers? Is it my head gasket?
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  #20  
Old 03-05-2012
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That's a bad head gasket. The gasket seals oil/coolant and combustion chambers from each other. You can get a leak between any of the 3. These motors typically lose it between the combustion chamber and the antifreeze, which is the bubbles in the overflow tank, and the missing coolant.

Mine would run with the coolant at half level and not overheat.
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  #21  
Old 05-07-2012
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Update, sorry its late.

Took the heads off, drivers side head gasket was blown. Had heads checked out and was told they were ok. Installed new head gaskets, truck runs but has antifreeze in the oil. Also misfire on 1,2. What a waste of time. Dealer is giving me 1200 on trade for a new car. Still sad to see it go. Thanks again for the advice, should of just spent the money on the new heads.
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  #22  
Old 05-07-2012
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If the original problem was exhaust in coolant, and after you changed the gaskets you have coolant in the oil, I'd bet the heads were fine and it was an installation error. It does not take much dirt to screw up a head gasket install.


At this point, I'd just cut you loses and trade it in. That sucks.
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  #23  
Old 05-07-2012
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I even paid a tech $100 from a local dealer to install the heads and gaskets so I wouldn't screw it up. Was a good learning experience I guess.
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  #24  
Old 05-08-2012
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now THATS a kick in the *****!
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  #25  
Old 05-27-2012
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dont junk the truck, not worth it. even a reman motor is not to bad w/ the 3.0
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