Adventures of the 2.5L Head Gasket - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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  #1  
Old 12-15-2006
Needforspeed3685's Avatar
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Adventures of the 2.5L Head Gasket

I began the process of stripping my 112K mile-club achiever's engine down to the bare ***** to change a suspected blown head gasket and after spending a solid afternoon getting things off, I'm down to the cylinder head finally.

For those of you not aware of the 2.5L engine, basically everything possible is bolted to the head. This meant the following things have to be removed just to gain access to the head bolts:

Fan/clutch assembly
fan shroud
radiator
intake tube and filter assembly
EGR supply tube
Upper intake manifold
fuel rail & injectors
Lower intake manifold
ignition coils and wires
spark plugs
exhaust manifold
valve cover
A/C compressor
power steering pump and bracket assembly
Alternator and bracket assembly

By the time it's all over, you'll end up with a pile of parts in your garage that looks like this:
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And an engine compartment that looks like this:
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Now, I've got my gasket scraper, but I (obviously) need to clean the whole engine and cylinder head, along with a good cleaning to remove dirt and debris accumilated in valve train.

I also need to remove the excess coolant visible through the coolant holes beside the cylinder walls that pass coolant through the block.

What do you recommend I use to clean these delicate components with before I replace gaskets and begin the torque sequence? Also how can I drain the excess coolant from the block, or should I just rely on the ol' Wet-Vac?

Thanks for any help you can provide!

At the end of all of this, I will take some pics of my newly blacked-out Ranger. Since the last time I was logged on I have installed:
Black billet grill and bumper grill
Black projector headlights and black turn signals
fantom fog lights

It makes for a killer looking blacked front end on these Gen-4's!
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Old 12-15-2006
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on a side note, how do the cylinder walls look as far as wear goes?
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  #3  
Old 12-16-2006
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A shop vac works great for clean up, it helps keep anything from falling into the motor and is great for sucking up antifreeze.
Clean the gasket surfaces with a sharp razor blade and wipe clean with brake cleaner.

The 2.3 and 2.5L engines aren't too bad when it comes to a head gasket job when you compare it to the new Mazda built 2.3L.

Did you find the problem? Any sign of a blown gasket?
What was the original symptom?
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Old 12-16-2006
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Stuff rags in the cylinders!! It will help save a lot of pain in cleanup when you scrape!
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  #5  
Old 12-16-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SouthernMudSlinger
on a side note, how do the cylinder walls look as far as wear goes?
The cylinder walls look superior, considering the amount of "adolescent torture" I put this ol' truck through. After running a 75 shot of nitrous for a year and a half, then driving for a few weeks with a suspected blown head gasket, I expected extensive wear in the cylinder walls and valve stems.

Suprisingly enough the head gasket didn't look to bad. I did notice, however, that Fel-Pro gaskets were used throughout the whole top end. Does this mean Ford uses Fel-Pro gaskets at the factory, or has someone replaced them before me?

The symptoms for this problem were:
Milky substance on the oil dip-stick
foul smell coming from the dip-stick tube (like burning antifreeze)
steam/smoke coming from the oil dipstick tube and filler hole
slow decrease in antifreeze with no appearant leaks or drips
HIGH oil consumption, although no visible smoke or emissions
black residue (more than average) coming from tail-pipes

Thanks for the help! I'll get out the trusty Shop-Vac today!

Last edited by Needforspeed3685; 12-16-2006 at 09:35 AM.
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Old 12-16-2006
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i would have the head checked for cracks!
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  #7  
Old 12-17-2006
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Ford gaskets come from a variety of manufacturers, but I can't recall ever seeing a Lima engine with OEM FelPro head gaskets.
If they are OEM gaskets, they usually have the Ford part number on them in one corner, and they are also usually the graphite type.
I have a couple of OEM sets here and both are McCord made gaskets.
(McCord is a division of the Federal-Mogul company as are FelPro gaskets, so I wouldn't doubt that later vehicles may used either brand gasket now). (Pre 1998 they were McCord Payen Inc. - McCord Gasket Division).
It sounds to me that it's had a problem in the past? How many miles have you put on it? If there's a chance this is a repeat problem I'd maybe think about a whole engine swap since it's got 112K on it.

I've only seen one cracked head on one of these motors and that was on a brand new truck. I have seen a few heads that were pretty warped though, and I have seen a couple of cracked cylinder walls on 2.3L's.
Just to be safe, move each piston down and check each cylinder carefully, the ones that I saw had tiny hairline cracks that looked almost like an eyelash. I would definitely send the head out for a hot pressure check.
I would also look all parts over real close, look for things like pistons or intake or exaust runners that are cleaner than the others. Things like this are a clue to where the antifreeze was coming from. Also keep in mind that a cylinder that's been washed down with antifreeze could also have damage caused by the antifreeze from the hydraulic effects of fluid in the cylinder, (Like bend rods, expanded cylinder walls, or collapsed pistons).
I'm only listing this since it's often overlooked and if the head gasket didn't look blown, you may want to look farther before reassembling the engine.

Did the head bolts feel loose when you first went to loosen them? I have seen a few that had similar problems that seemed to have real loose head bolts.

I would be more concerned with any damage that may have been caused by the antifreeze more than a 75hp shot of N.O.S. If the oil was contaminated with antifreeze, I would consider the posibility of bearing damage.
Make sure that you flush it well and do a few oil changes right away to get all the antifreeze out of the crankcase.
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Old 12-17-2006
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Well I had the head pressure tested last night with a buddy of mine (from my neighborhood) at the shop he works at. All came out okay, so we checked the valve stems and seals (I didn't have the valve spring compressor). These too were okay, so we re-examined the head gasket, which we soon realized was compressed more on one end than the other. I did notice when removing the head bolts that the front 4 seemed easier to remove (didn't require the air impact gun to break loose).

I replaced the headbolts for an additional $37, as I could tell the old ones were well past due replacement. I also noticed a small breakage in the upper-to-lower intake manifold gaskets, which could have caused a vacuum leak. Finally the exhaust manifold gasket was crumbled and worthless, with multiple leaks on each cylinder.

This goes to show, if you replace a head gasket, you may as well get the upper head gasket SET, and replace everything else.

Either way I'll know by today once I finish torquing everything up and light the fires. I replaced spark plugs, the thermostat, valve seals, camshaft seals, every bearing I came across including roller bearings, and flushed the coolant system. Now I just need to flush the oil with new oil twice over and it should be good as new!
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  #9  
Old 09-12-2010
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Hello,

I blew the head gasket (at least) on my Ford Ranger 2.5L 4 cylinder. I replaced the thermostat and radiator fluid went into the engine and locked it up.

I removed all the spark plugs and blew out the radiator fluid. It ran well before it locked and I towed it home.

I have dealt with minor repairs and oill changing, but this is the first time to remove and inspect a cylinder head.


I have a Chilton manual and I am starting to take the exterior parts off. The first thing it says the first piston must be positioned at TDC on the compression stroke.

Where is the "access plug(s) on the camshaft drivebelt cover"?

Any warnings or do's or don'ts to advise me of?

John
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Old 09-13-2010
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Sounds like you hydro locked it. You should have it professionally rebuilt or swap the engine. You prolly bent some rods and valves.

This thread is from 2006 so most of these guys don't even tread here anymore. If you look at the one guys signature he doesn't even have the 2.5L anymore, he swapped for a 5.0
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  #11  
Old 09-13-2010
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To Masteratarms93:

I removed all the spark plugs gently kicked it over a few times. The radiator fluid blew out when I kicked it over. I did that because I was told it should not sit there with radiator fluid for a long time.

It seemed smooth when I kicked it over. Of course I had no backpressure because spark plugs were removed.

Where in Texas is a good place to have it professionally rebuilt? or even to swap an engine?

I thought that it would be worthwhile to at least remove the cylinder head and have it pressure tested for 35 dollars. If it's bad then I need to find a new cylinder head for the 2.5 4 cyl Ranger which I hear is almost impossible to find at a junnkyard without being cracked.

Also, anyone know of any "Ford Ranger junkyards" in Texas?

John
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  #12  
Old 09-13-2010
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I have no idea about that. I live in Ohio lol.
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