My head had prestone seeping out so I am replacing the head gasket. The head was not warped. Does anyone know the correct torque for the head bolts?
50 to 55 lb-ft
Be sure the bolts are not bottoming out. The best way to check for this is to first install the head without a gasket and turn all the bolts down until they stop turning. They should be in contact with the head. If they don't touch the head you either have dirt in the holes or the bolts are too long. To clean out the holes use a bottoming tap and blow out with compressed air. Then torque to 50 ft lb. Warm up the engine and then torque again. If it has an iron head torque hot if aluminum wait until it cools off and torque. Do this a few times until it holds torque. You should then have no more head gasket problems.
Add a teaspoon of stopleak with powdered aluminum in it. Works like a champ.
It's been said before but needs repeating: go into each head bolt hole with an awl or pick and rummage around a bit then use compressed air to blow out the stuff you'll free up. I don't know how it gets in there but it'll cause the bolts to bottom out and strip the threads. Don't fail to do this!
To add to what Charlie says, be sure to wear goggles and a mask (or at least look away) when blowing the debris out of the holes. Don't ask me how I know...
I have just gone through this, twice. I can only support the above.
Second time round I ran a tap down every thread, picked the gunk out of the bottom, blew them out clean with an air gun. I laid the new head gasket on both the head and block to ensure it is of good quality, clears all the valves and combustion chambers etc. I laid the head with spacers on the block and checked every bolt did not bottom out before tightening. Mark & shorten the bolt if required, or use a plain washer.
Here is a photo of what happened when an NOS incorrect part is fitted because I assumed it would fit and did not follow the process I have followed for years. I failed to pick up the encroaching gasket in chambers #2 & #3, it lasted 20 minutes and blew a 1" hole in the head. There are NO shortcuts.
I recommend using Permatex "Copper Coat" when reinstalling the head and new gasket. Coat the Gasket (both sides), the head and the deck surface.
Works amazingly well.
As I understand it (others please join in) the metalurgy on the older blocks was not as good, so you might be flirting with disaster to use 50-55 ft/lbs on an older block (pre 16 ??).
At any rate, the advice to clean out the bolt holes is good. Better yet, after cleaning and measuring to see if the bolts are to long, use a bottoming tap to clean the threads. If you don't have a bottoming tap, you can make one easily from an old head bolt (with sharp threads) and a thin disk metal cutter.
Also My head sealed perfectly at 35 ft/lbs. I had intended to torque higher if there was a problem - but no problem. Be sure to retorque several times after running and engine is cool. My head had to be retorqued 3 times before it finally settled in.
Thanks guys, I have installed the new head gasket and I am waiting to try it.
The metallurgy in blocks made in the brass era is not too good. You will pull the threads right out of most early blocks at 55 lb - ft of torque.
Ford never used a torque wrench on any bolt originally. If the bolts are installed by you using a Ford head bolt wrench they will be tight and you won't strip the threads. The important thing is to make sure all surfaces are clean and free of oil on assembly.
If you have new head bolts you need to pre - assemble the head to the block without a gasket and screw each bolt in carefully to check that none of them bottom out in the holes. The last set of head bolts I bought (came in Snyders packaging) were all longer than original Ford head bolts. I had to cut off approximately .125" from each bolt to allow them to screw in to the block properly.
I generally use a drill to clean out the holes, then follow up with a bottoming tap...
I HAVE FOUND head bolt holes with dirt and carbon packed so hard into their bottoms that it feels like you are drilling into the iron at the bottom of the hole, so don't be fooled into thinking you have hit bottom and also try to avoid drilling any (or much) deeper than the original hole. A tap generally will not remove dirt packed at the bottom of the hole. The tap has a tendency to simply bottom against the dirt and stop.
Royce has a good suggestion of installing the head with no gasket and making sure each bolt bottoms against the head... That is nearly foolproof!
I have also found old and new head bolts that are too long...
I can only support Royce and others. Put the head on the block and CHECK the length of the head bolts prior to assembly.
My excuse was 20 years since I had done a head gasket. Simply not acceptable when I thought about what I had been taught. Memory lapse is a lame excuse, as my father reminded me with a friendly "slap" around where I should of known better!
All of the above is good. I would also recommend if you need to shorten one bolt -- make them all the same length. It will save someone (perhaps yourself if you change the head gasket in 10 years from now) from forgetting to put the short bolt in the proper hole.
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