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EL Falcon head gasket/ oil leak 

 

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 Post subject: EL Falcon head gasket/ oil leak
Posted: Mon Aug 21, 2017 11:14 pm 
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Location: Flagstaff Hill
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Hi all.
Had the standard head gasket go on my 4.0L EL.
2 weeks before I diagnosed the head gasket had failed (via TK Head test) I replaced the radiator which was weeping down a seam, replaced top & lower rad hoses, replaced coolant, thermostat, and all seemed to run like clock work again with no temp rising above the "L" on temp gauge.
Then 2-3 weeks later the temp started shooting up again and running rough.
I observed coolant sitting on No.3 piston through spark plug bore.
So I replaced the head gasket with standard head gasket (as advised by head machinists).
I put in on dry.
Head was pressure tested, welded in 3 small areas and machined.
I cleaned the deck with a plastic wheel brush (which I've used for paint removal from cars as it doesn't damage the metal like a wire wheel) then finished deck by block sanding with 400 grit.
The deck finish looked like the machined head.
I blew out all head bolt threads repeatedly with air gun.
New head bolts torqued first to 20nm then 30nm and finally 40nm follwed by the 90degree additional turn.
All done in sequence.
I followed all procedures & torque settings from a Gregory's E series Ford manual.
All new gaskets from VRS kit were used, including valve stem seals (Platinum gasket brand).
Oil, oil filter, spark plugs and coolant were replaced before firing up.
It fired up beautifully, blew a lot of white smoke for 1 min before clearing but then ran nice.
On my test run however, it ran rough (like a misfire) through all gears but slowly improved as time went on.
But, to my horror when I stopped on driveway I noticed smoke coming from engine bay which was
actually fresh oil leaking down the sides of the block onto exhaust and car idle is up at 2,000 when warm.
I can't actually see where exactly it's coming from, but the sides of the block are wet with oil.
The leak isn't huge, but enough to leave a mess.
Could this be the head bolts weren't torqued down adequately?
If so, can I just remove rocker cover and add 5-10degree extra turn?

Although I was a brake clutch & suspension mechanic many years ago, and have a clue about machinery, this was my first engine related repair.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Regards Alex.
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 Post subject: Re: EL Falcon head gasket/ oil leak
Posted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 8:59 am 
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Here is a head gasket guide I made up when I did my first head gasket.

fordmods-technical-documents-diy-f38/head-gasket-doco-t99962.html

and the thread that started it all and got me to making the guide.

fordmods-technical-documents-diy-f38/head-gasket-doco-started-t22726.html

Have a read and see what you may have missed along the way.

Regarding the head gasket, did you use the AU MLS (multi-layered steel) head gasket or the composite type one? If you used the AU MLS head gasket, it is a different torque setting, 30Nm on all bolts and then 120 degrees after that. If you used the Composite, I believe your 20, 30, 40Nm +90 degrees works fine.

Find out where the leak is coming from first, your rocker cover gasket might be leaking, especially in the rear half moon section, it sometimes sits wrong or gets knocked out of its groove when installing. Try using some gasket goo around the moon part, that can help reduce seeping in those areas.

Not sure about torqueing the head bolts further, but I don't see any harm tightening it a little more...as long as it's not removed and then retightened. Someone with more knowledgeable should be able to correct me here.

 

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phongus = Post whore 2006
EL XR6 motor, EL ECU + J3 chip, WADE 1673 Camshaft, 3" S/S intake, Pacy 4480, 2.5" Hi flow cat, 2.5" Lukey exhaust.
Max Power = 144.6 rwkw (03/05/2008)

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 Post subject: Re: EL Falcon head gasket/ oil leak
Posted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 4:24 pm 
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Ok.
So at risk of making myself sound like a total goose, i thought it would be more of an aid to be honest and tell you what I've just discovered.
Hopefully this will be a "warning" to any first timers like myself of what NOT to do.
I appreciate your rapid response on using gasket goo on rear of rocker cover, it did sit firm as a result but still leaked oil.
But.....
What I found to my horror when I was in the packing up process was a brand new top timing cover gasket sitting on the dining room table (where I kept the VRS kit in safe keeping).
So there is currently no top timing cover gasket in place.
I wonder if this is my problem??
Blowing white smoke on start up but then clears.
Is this the likely cause do you think?
The odd thing is there are no signs of oil leak from front of engine.
Only down the sides.
Anyway, I've gone and bought new headbolts and can of Holymar and ready to undo all my good/bad work.
At least I'll be quicker this time round.
Also was wondering do I need take the head gasket off completely and clean any potential oil from either side of gasket?
Or do I just let sit on the deck at all times?
And can I re-use the same gasket?
It's barley done 10mins work.
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 Post subject: Re: EL Falcon head gasket/ oil leak
Posted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 4:39 pm 
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aconre8 wrote:
Ok.
So at risk of making myself sound like a total goose, i thought it would be more of an aid to be honest and tell you what I've just discovered.
Hopefully this will be a "warning" to any first timers like myself of what NOT to do.
I appreciate your rapid response on using gasket goo on rear of rocker cover, it did sit firm as a result but still leaked oil.
But.....
What I found to my horror when I was in the packing up process was a brand new top timing cover gasket sitting on the dining room table (where I kept the VRS kit in safe keeping).
So there is currently no top timing cover gasket in place.
I wonder if this is my problem??
Blowing white smoke on start up but then clears.
Is this the likely cause do you think?
The odd thing is there are no signs of oil leak from front of engine.
Only down the sides.
Anyway, I've gone and bought new headbolts and can of Holymar and ready to undo all my good/bad work.
At least I'll be quicker this time round.
Also was wondering do I need take the head gasket off completely and clean any potential oil from either side of gasket?
Or do I just let sit on the deck at all times?
And can I re-use the same gasket?
It's barley done 10mins work.


I would not reuse the gasket personally, but I am no expert. Also depends if it's the composite style head gasket or the metal layered style gasket.

If you take the head off again, I'd suggest you clean everything, especially the mating surfaces.

Regarding the gasket on the timing chain cover, if you reused the old one, that might be the cause of the leak. The leak would most likely be coming from where the timing cover meets the block. If you look in the guide I linked above, it is ideal to put a bead of gasket maker where the timing chain meets the block so that when you put the head on, it seals that section off nicely. Give the block a clean, run the engine for a bit and find out where the leak is coming from. BTW is it exhaust side only or on both sides of the engine? Could be something different altogether, like power steering pump spitting fluid everywhere.

You can replace the gasket without removing the head, but it could be a bit of a headache in itself. Remove harmonic balancer, remove power steering pump, remove timing chain tensioner, remove sump bolts (can't remove sump, so just drop the sump), raise the engine with the use of an engine crane (not sure if you need to remove the engine mount bolts to give more room), then remove the timing chain cover, replace all gaskets and put everything back.

After typing all that, I think it is easier to just replace the head gasket!

 

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phongus = Post whore 2006
EL XR6 motor, EL ECU + J3 chip, WADE 1673 Camshaft, 3" S/S intake, Pacy 4480, 2.5" Hi flow cat, 2.5" Lukey exhaust.
Max Power = 144.6 rwkw (03/05/2008)

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 Post subject: Re: EL Falcon head gasket/ oil leak
Posted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 5:11 pm 
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Location: Flagstaff Hill
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Yeah, I've already removed the head.
Only took 3.5 hours this time round as opposed to all day the first time. Lol!
The car literally had no top timing cover gasket in it, it was all just an opening sitting under the bare head.
I actually removed the old gasket when i first did the job, but just plumb forgot about replacing it until the the whole thing was put back together.
I'll never do that again........that's for sure!
The oil was actually running down both sides of the block and down back of block.
I couldn't actually see it oozing out, but both sides of the block were wet, and when I stuck my head under the car with engine running I could see oil dripping from the left & right alloy brackets that support the trans to back of motor, and then dripping onto the cat converter (which caused the smoke under hood) and eventually dripping onto the floor.

By the way, thanks for that PDF, it's brilliant and I will definitely use it.
I also found an interesting bit of timing info from Auto Fix's web site on timing procedures for January 98' & on EL Falcons that had a revised I6 motor, here it is if it's of any interest to you.
http://autofix.com.au/blog/el-falcon-hy ... aft-timing

I think I'll just get a new head gasket and bolt the whole thing back together and let you know how it goes.
Thanks again for your help phongus.
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 Post subject: Re: EL Falcon head gasket/ oil leak
Posted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 7:25 pm 
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aconre8 wrote:
I also found an interesting bit of timing info from Auto Fix's web site on timing procedures for January 98' & on EL Falcons that had a revised I6 motor, here it is if it's of any interest to you.
http://autofix.com.au/blog/el-falcon-hy ... aft-timing

I think I'll just get a new head gasket and bolt the whole thing back together and let you know how it goes.
Thanks again for your help phongus.



use new bolts.
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 Post subject: Re: EL Falcon head gasket/ oil leak
Posted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 9:59 pm 
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No problem aconre8.

If you can get an AU MLS head gasket, it will most likely last you longer. I have had no grief with the head since putting the MLS gasket on. Has done around 180,000km on it so far.

With no gasket at the timing chain cover, the oil will definitely come from there. When you went for a drive, most likely the oil started running towards the back covering both sides of the block. How much oil is left in the sump?

 

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phongus = Post whore 2006
EL XR6 motor, EL ECU + J3 chip, WADE 1673 Camshaft, 3" S/S intake, Pacy 4480, 2.5" Hi flow cat, 2.5" Lukey exhaust.
Max Power = 144.6 rwkw (03/05/2008)

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 Post subject: Re: EL Falcon head gasket/ oil leak
Posted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 12:53 am 
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The oil level was actually still at correct level after this experience.
Like I said, it wasn't a huge leak, but it was enough to leave fresh oil stains on driveway, so i suppose if i kept driving all day it would eventually have gotten low.
But I only drove initially for 10mins to test her out.
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 Post subject: Re: EL Falcon head gasket/ oil leak
Posted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 9:32 am 
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Fair enough, well hopefully it's all fixed and you're back on the road!

 

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phongus = Post whore 2006
EL XR6 motor, EL ECU + J3 chip, WADE 1673 Camshaft, 3" S/S intake, Pacy 4480, 2.5" Hi flow cat, 2.5" Lukey exhaust.
Max Power = 144.6 rwkw (03/05/2008)

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 Post subject: Re: EL Falcon head gasket/ oil leak
Posted: Sun Aug 27, 2017 1:40 am 
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Well, how do you know when a s**t situation becomes a total nightmare?
Answer: When you pull the head off the car for the 3rd time and find No.1 piston has punched a valve, snapping it in two, and shattering the piston head.
Yep!
As you know from earlier posts I had to remove the head for the 2nd time to install the forgotten top timing cover gasket, which I did, then re-bolted the whole thing back together forgetting nothing this time.
As I did after the first head gasket replacement job, I manually turned the crank over 2 rounds to make sure all was good before firing up.
It went round no probs.
However on initial fire up, the engine choked and tried to fire but I knew something was wrong so I immediately shut her down.
I then removed all spark plugs to prepare for another manual crank turnover but spark plug No.1 wasn't coming out.
Uh oh!
It was as though it was done up to 100nm and eventiually snapped at the base (not porcelain part).
I then removed the serp belt and checked to see if I could manually turn the engine over, but no go.
So for the third time, I removed the head and found the nightmare that anyone doing this work would consider "worst case scenario".
I removed the timing chain tensioner before anything as i suspected the issue may have started here.
I saw on an Autofix youtube video the procedure for locking & releasing an E-series tensioner.
There was a distinctive clicking noise when released on the video, but at no stage did I hear this.
Not the first time nor the second time I redid the head gasket.(maybe the first time i got lucky)
I think I may have unwound the tensioner more than half turn anti-clockwise as I didn't hear or feel it release, cos when I pulled out the post/or piston part, it was disassembled.
I'm guessing it was floating around released but un-assembled on that initial fire up which caused the timing to go out??
The thing is when I lifted the rocker cover off, the timing marks were still lined up at crank and timing cover, and the 2 yellow links were at 11:00 o'clock (My EL is the updated I6 engine).

Anyway, she's toast.
Don't know whether to get another 2nd hand long motor or just get rid of it.
What would I expect to pay for another engine?
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 Post subject: Re: EL Falcon head gasket/ oil leak
Posted: Sun Aug 27, 2017 10:52 am 
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that sucks big time :cry:

engines around here start from about 250 up to 400/500 depending on what motor wanted.
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 Post subject: Re: EL Falcon head gasket/ oil leak
Posted: Sun Aug 27, 2017 12:30 pm 
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Yeah, it certainly does suck.
Especially since I've sunk around $800 bucks in it.
Head face / pressure test / welding and new valve stem seals inserted $300.00
VRS set / head bolts / coolant/ oil $180
2nd head gasket and head bolts $70
Torque wrench and other tools $160
It would have been cheaper to send to a mechanic with hindsight.
I still don't really know what happened, but I'm suspecting the tensioner was the issue.

Are those engine prices from a wrecker or other sources?
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 Post subject: Re: EL Falcon head gasket/ oil leak
Posted: Sun Aug 27, 2017 4:51 pm 
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prices were from ebay ..... some were wreckers & some from people doin from home. mechanics won't be cheap either doin head.
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 Post subject: Re: EL Falcon head gasket/ oil leak
Posted: Sun Aug 27, 2017 11:17 pm 
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That is not good news at all!

If all the sprockets/timing marks are in their right spots after breaking, I would imagine the timing chain tensioner may not be the issue. When you put the tensioner back in, did you check for tension on the chain? Also when you put the piston back in, did the piston line up with the timing chain guide? There is a possibility that the chain skipped a few teeth and causing the damage, but I would imagine it would be more than just cylinder 1 and the timing marks would be out of alignment.

I would have a look at the valve on the head...hopefully whoever put the new valve seals in, put the valve collets back in correctly...hopefully the collets haven't come out and dropped the valves straight into the cylinder.

Regarding another motor, you can get cheap ones from the wreckers and work with that or find someone wrecking a car locally. I bought my Tickford motor for 350 and spent a fair bit on it before dropping it into the car. Just depends how much you would want to spend on getting it back on the road, as it could cost you more than the value of the car!

 

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phongus = Post whore 2006
EL XR6 motor, EL ECU + J3 chip, WADE 1673 Camshaft, 3" S/S intake, Pacy 4480, 2.5" Hi flow cat, 2.5" Lukey exhaust.
Max Power = 144.6 rwkw (03/05/2008)

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 Post subject: Re: EL Falcon head gasket/ oil leak
Posted: Mon Aug 28, 2017 12:14 am 
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I'm pretty sure the tensioner piston slotted up against the guide.
I fed it in so the slot lined up with the guide and pushed it in til it butted up against the guide.
Unfortunately you can't actually see it poking out when the head is in place.
I saw some movement in the chain when released, but the chain wasn't totally slack before the tensioner went in, so it wasn't real obvious.
It was the one part of the whole job i was least comfortable with, which is why the very first time I pulled the tensioner out, i completely dismantled it (spring/ internal piston part that looks like a small bullet & allen key retainer) and studied how it's various parts worked.
I even oiled it up to make it as responsive as possible and practiced releasing it in my hand a few times before i did it for real.
I will check for that valve collet/guide in the morning, but the thing is the engine did run nicely the first time I put the head on(apart from that oil leak), so I'm not sure the valve guide could be a culprit.
I used to work in a ford dealer in spare parts & then as service advisor, and I remember cab drivers coming in to buy parts for their EF-EL cabs and would boast their car has done over a million ks'.
I know mine won't.
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