83' Ranger Head gasket replacment -need help with parts and a gameplan - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource

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Old 11-23-2014
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Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: San Diego. CA
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83' Ranger Head gasket replacment -need help with parts and a gameplan

I made a post about 2 weeks ago asking a few questions about a 1983 ranger project


I got the truck to my parents house and want to get started on it.

problems are a blown head gasket and a leaky radiator.

2.3L I4 lima
4S Manual

I need to know what parts I am going to need and what parts I should replace if I am going to be tearing this engine down.

Head Gasket - is there a package that i should get with the Head, Intake, exhaust, and any other gaskets i should replace while I have the engine broken down?

Head bolts - I do not want to reuse the old ones but I am not sure what bolts i should be getting. Is there a difference from a $50 set and a $100 set if I am not building a racing/performance engine?

Radiator - My uncle said I might be able to have this one repaired. Is that a wise choice? From what i was looking at the price for new ones ranged from $100-250 on ebay. what are your thoughts.

Hoses - Once I start pulling stuff out to get the head off are these hoses going to break? Do they tend to break? If so is it worth it to just buy new ones and what would the cost of that be?

Water pump/Oil pump - I have no idea about these yet. I don't know if these have a big chance of needed to be replaced or how much that would cost.

Am i missing anything?

The next thing I could use would be some good videos of people doing this job right on this engine or ones that are similar.

I am not looking to get this project done in a short period of time. It will be my dad, younger brother and I working on it. I would just like to be able to plan it out a bit in my head and on paper be for I just jump in.

Once I get the head off I plan on taking it to a machine shop.

How do I go about finding a good shop? Are there things i need to ask them to do? will they try and up sell things i wont need?

thank you for your time and if there is anymore information i should post just let me know.

Here are some pictures not sure if they will help with anything or if i need some more at a diff angle let me know.
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Old 11-23-2014
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Yes, you would buy a head gasket kit, yes, it will come with head gasket, intake and exhaust gaskets, also valve cover gasket, valve guide seals and often new "O" rings for fuel injectors.
These are year specific in most cases, as are head bolts.
I have always had good luck with Fel-pro

Not much future in radiator repair, unless you are stuck somewhere trying to get home, lol.
Get a new one, make sure it is for Manual trans model, often cheaper, no trans cooler built in.

Just check the ends of the hose when removing them, if one is hard and seems brittle replace that one.
You should flush out the hoses if you had a blown head gasket also the heater core.
Google: back flush heater core
It is the same process on all cars/trucks

Depending on the miles on last timing belt/water pump replacement they may be fine.
If mileage on that is unknown then look over belt for cracks and remove water pump to inspect it, and then look at the cost for a new water pump and timing belt, decide if it is worth while for less worry based on what you saw.
Timing belt and water pumps often don't show high miles, so could fail even if they look good, but if obviously bad then replace it.

Yes, head needs to go to a machine shop, just call around for prices and time table.
You need the head "surfaced"(that means they make it smooth and flat for new gasket)
You need it pressure tested, this will detect any cracks that may not be visible.
You need the new valve guide seals installed, so get the head gasket kit so you have the new valve guide seals to give them.
You need a valve spring compressor to install new guide seals, these are not expensive, but how many times will you use it in the future, and machine shop won't charge very much to do it.

You can ask about regrinding the valves, but if engine was running OK before head gasket issue then it could be an unneeded expense.

Take lots of pictures if this will be a long term project, as you will forget stuff, lol.
And write a few notes as well if you feel the need to.

As I remove parts I often reinstall the bolts/nuts where they were, so I don't lose them and so I don't end up with a tray full of fasteners that I can't remember which went where, lol.
Pictures help but was that a long bolt or medium, or short????
If you put the long bolt in the medium hole you may break it off when tightening, and then spend 2 hours getting it out and a trip to the parts store to "try" and find the right bolt.

Last edited by RonD; 11-23-2014 at 11:11 AM.
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Old 11-23-2014
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Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: San Diego. CA
Posts: 3
RonD Thank you for the quick reply.

This is the gasket kit I am looking at. Does this contain everything you were talking about?
Fel-Pro Gasket Set | Northern Auto Parts:
I assume that I could just bring the kit in to the shop and let them take what they will be installing for me.

Should I flush out the system now be for I start pulling the engine apart Or wait until the new radiator and head is back on it? I have yet to google it but I will be checking that out tonight and I might have my answer from that.

Not sure when the last time the timing belt was replaced but I saw that they are under $20 so I will be replacing it.
I don't know anything about the water pump. Is it difficult to replace just the water pump at a later date if in fact it does fail on me or is it in an area that would need a lot of effort to get to?

The Truck ran fine until the head gasket blew. They drove it to the shop, the shop quoted $1000 to fix the head gasket and install a new radiator. They drove it home and it hasn't been started since. That was April 2013. Is there anything I can look for on the valves to see if they need a grinding or does that sound like an unneeded expense?

Thanks for the heads up on replacing the bolts once I have removed the part.

Is there something I can search for that explains how to cover the block/piston while the head is off so that rust or what not doesn't give me an issue?

Thanks again for the input.
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Old 11-24-2014
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That is a Full gasket set, has everything you need but also oil pan and other gaskets you don't need, but might need down the road, so for the $8-$9 difference it would be fine.

Shop just needs the guide seals but sure take what you have.

You can flush out the head and block after you get most of the front end stuff off but before pulling the head.
Heater core should be flushed separately, flush in both directions.
But do what ever is easier, it isn't a "big deal", after reassembly you should run straight water in the engine for a few days just in case of leaks, unless your local temp is below freezing, lol, then you need to run a little coolant/anti-freeze with the water.
Then drain and flush, before using a 50/50 mix.

You will see how hard it would be to go back in to replace water pump after you do the disassembly, so base it on that.

Machine shop guys I have dealt with over the years seem pretty honest, ask their opinion on valve and seat condition.

If you do have temps below freezing then I would drain the block, some older blocks had drains, most don't now.
I use a longer vacuum hose, small flexible tube, and push it down one of the rear coolant passages in top of block then get a siphon going to drain the coolant from the block.

Put some oil on a rag and wipe down the top of the block and pistons.
Then just cover the block with a towel, you don't want to seal it because even if drained, there will be moisture in the block, and plastic will cause condensation.

Also leave the oil in the pan, stuff will fall down the head and block oil drains and into the oil pan, and it will usually float, when you are done reassembling, drain oil and add fresh, and new oil filter.
The floating stuff is what gets sucked up into engine, a washer or a nut will just sit at the bottom of the oil pan and won't bother anything, except you gotta replace it, lol.

Last edited by RonD; 11-24-2014 at 12:30 AM.
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