• Welcome Visitor! Please take a few seconds and Register for our forum. Even if you don't want to post, you can still 'Like' and react to posts.

2.9L Head Gasket replacement


Cees Klumper

Active Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2019
Messages
189
Reaction score
134
Points
43
Location
De Luz, CA (near Camp Pendleton)
Vehicle Year
1990
Make / Model
Bronco II XLT
Transmission
Automatic
Well another update - after monitoring for a week and around 200 miles, I decided to bite the bullit and just ordered a set of new Promaxxperformance heads. It was still losing a bit of coolant consistently. Not much, not like before by a long shot, but it should not lose any, and when I take off the oil filler cap there is some condensation at the bottom of it that definitely tastes like coolant. I ordered the heads complete with valves and, while I am at it, I will also replace the rocker arms and pushrods - they are not expensive, and I have no idea how much miles is on the current ones and since I am doing all that work myself, I figured for peace of mind I might as well. So also will need new head gaskets and head bolts, so ordered those as well. I reckon this truck has had this very minor coolant loss since I got it, as I had to top it off occasionally but never thought much of it, until it started really losing coolant by the liter a couple weeks ago. Now I just want it to be fixed, and probably this is a hair crack in one (or both) of the heads, they're not straight or what have you. Will report back when I have all the new parts installed and rolling again, hopefully by the end of the weekend.
 


Shran

Junk Collector
TRS Forum Moderator
Supporting Member
Article Contributor
V8 Engine Swap
Solid Axle Swap
Truck of Month
Joined
Mar 4, 2008
Messages
8,687
Reaction score
4,789
Points
113
Location
Rapid City SD
Engine Type
V8
Engine Size
5.0
Tastes like coolant 🤣🤣🤣

I probably wouldn't have bothered replacing the head gaskets, and instead just put the lower intake back on with a new gasket... Just extra effort and parts expense, but now you know. Keep us posted
 

Cees Klumper

Active Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2019
Messages
189
Reaction score
134
Points
43
Location
De Luz, CA (near Camp Pendleton)
Vehicle Year
1990
Make / Model
Bronco II XLT
Transmission
Automatic
Thanks - sure, in hindsight I could have saved time and $150 - but it was definitely worth a shot, and I did almost address the entire issue. I had never replaced a head gasket before and was dreading it, now I know better how to go about it and am confident I can tackle it more efficiently.
 

Cees Klumper

Active Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2019
Messages
189
Reaction score
134
Points
43
Location
De Luz, CA (near Camp Pendleton)
Vehicle Year
1990
Make / Model
Bronco II XLT
Transmission
Automatic
Yesterday and today I spent mostly on installing new heads. Two additional chores came up: the first, as I was undoing one of the two manifold-to-downpipe bolts on the driver's side, that was turning very difficult (even though I had just put it in a week or so before), the manifold broke off (at the bolthole). Seems like the bolt basically destroyed the thread and took out the cast iron manifold. I ordered two new manifolds/bolts, hoping to avoid a similar problem on the passenger side. Then as I got started yesterday on the install of the heads etc, I decided to replace the power steering pump hoses, as there was a small leak, and in the process managed to break off the plastic connector on the pump housing! So that job turned into several runs to O'Reilly's to get a remanufactured pump ($60), also because they initially gave me the wrong pump pulley puller/installer. So what was supposed to be a quick additional job turned into a major headache.
Since I had messed up on the installation of the rocker arm assemblies in my first attempt to address my coolant leak, thinking they were different left from right, I was no longer sure I was matching the valvetrain components (push rods, rocker arms, valves), AND I was getting new valves with the new heads anyway, I decided to also get new rocker arms and push rods. So now all that is new, which is a nice feeling. This truck has 235,000 or so miles on it, and because the prices of these components were really reasonable, I thought why not. So, new push rods / rocker arms / valves / heads, basically all the top end.
I made two basic mistakes during the installation/re-assembly. First is, I swapped spark plug leads 5 and 6. So the car did start, but ran terrible. Luckily I spotted it right away - don't know how I could have done that. Then, as it was running decent after I corrected mistake no. 1, I went to set timing to the proper 10 degrees. Took it for a test drive, and it was running really sluggishly. After a disappointing spin around the block, it dawned on me: "Spout Connector"!. So broke out the timing light again and, sure enough, after setting timing properly (spout connector removed), the car ran like a bat out of hell. The new heads/valves etc do make a difference. Now it's just fingers crossed that all of this effort and new parts actually cured my internal coolant leak. Will find out soon enough. If it did not, I suppose the only two remaining possible causes would be a crack in the engine block itself, or the intake manifold has a leak, is not flat or what have you. Will report back when I find out. In any event, the Bronco runs like a champ again.
 

Cees Klumper

Active Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2019
Messages
189
Reaction score
134
Points
43
Location
De Luz, CA (near Camp Pendleton)
Vehicle Year
1990
Make / Model
Bronco II XLT
Transmission
Automatic
Update so far is that, two days of a lot of driving followed by cooldowns overnight, the coolant has stayed at exactly the same level in the oveflow tank, and there is no coolant condensation like there used to be under the oil filler cap. So, fingers crossed, and I hope I am not jinxing it now, it seems like the heads were the problem, and not the block. Engine is also stronger now with the new heads/valves (although it ran strong before this operation) and is quieter, but also sounds a bit more 'mechanical' (as in I can now faintly hear the valvetrain doing its thing). Oil pressure very good. If any of this changes will update again.
 

Jazzer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 16, 2018
Messages
587
Reaction score
457
Points
63
Location
Indianapolis
Vehicle Year
2007
Make / Model
Ranger
Engine Type
2.3 (4 Cylinder)
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
2WD
Thanks for the update, it’ll be sure to help someone in the future.

-Jazzer
 

Cees Klumper

Active Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2019
Messages
189
Reaction score
134
Points
43
Location
De Luz, CA (near Camp Pendleton)
Vehicle Year
1990
Make / Model
Bronco II XLT
Transmission
Automatic
Final update on my coolant loss/new heads/gaskets: I just had the car smogged (California: strict) and it passed with flying colors. The smog station guy said he worked as a mechanic for Ford for a couple of years and never saw one that ran as smooth and clean as this one (230,000 miles on the engine). This was my first smog check since buying the car so I was a bit apprehensive about it (it failed a couple of times in the past according to the carfax), but I think the various new parts-(rebuilt injectors, new ignition parts, throttle position sensor, air flow sensor, oxygen sensor and new catalytic converter) really made a difference, as I am sure did the proper routing of some of the vacuum lines that had got mixed up sometime in the past. The truck runs super-strong with the new Promaxxperformance heads and also shifts very smooth. I hope it will stay like this for some time to come, after all the work I have done on it since I got it in October 2019.
 

eightynine4x4

Active Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2020
Messages
673
Reaction score
178
Points
43
Location
New York
Vehicle Year
1989
Make / Model
Ford Ranger
Engine Type
2.9 V6
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
2.5" Suspension
Tire Size
31 x 10.5 x 15
@Cees Klumper
When you got the Full version of the Promaxxperformance heads which includes the spring and valves, did you have any issues or concerns with the supplied hardware? Am probably about to buy a set, and am wondering if it would be better to buy separate springs and valves. It definitely seems cost effective to buy the Full version but I’m wondering if those parts they include are of low quality / control. Did the valves seem to seat nice and flush underneath?
 

eightynine4x4

Active Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2020
Messages
673
Reaction score
178
Points
43
Location
New York
Vehicle Year
1989
Make / Model
Ford Ranger
Engine Type
2.9 V6
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
2.5" Suspension
Tire Size
31 x 10.5 x 15
No issues at all, heads have been flawless, engine has noticably more power with the new heads so the set I got was 100%
Amazing. Did you lap the valves once you received the set? Or did you just install everything as received?
Also are you using stock exhaust manifolds or did you go with some headers?
 

Cees Klumper

Active Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2019
Messages
189
Reaction score
134
Points
43
Location
De Luz, CA (near Camp Pendleton)
Vehicle Year
1990
Make / Model
Bronco II XLT
Transmission
Automatic
Just bolted them on out of the box. Stock exhaust manifolds. This is just a Bronco II so just happy to be cruising along.
 

eightynine4x4

Active Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2020
Messages
673
Reaction score
178
Points
43
Location
New York
Vehicle Year
1989
Make / Model
Ford Ranger
Engine Type
2.9 V6
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
2.5" Suspension
Tire Size
31 x 10.5 x 15
Just bolted them on out of the box. Stock exhaust manifolds. This is just a Bronco II so just happy to be cruising along.
Me too, just looking to solve the calamity that is my valve train and enjoy my ranger as stock!
 

Sponsored Ad


Sponsored Ad

Staff online

Member & Vendor Upgrades

For a small yearly donation, you can support this forum and receive a 'Supporting Member' banner, or become a 'Supporting Vendor' and promote your products here. Click the banner to find out how.

Truck of The Month


Shran
April Truck of The Month

Recently Featured

Want to see your truck here? Share your photos and details in the forum.

Follow TRS On Instagram

TRS Events

25th Anniversary Sponsors

Check Out The TRS Store


Sponsored Ad


Sponsored Ad

Sponsored Ad


Amazon Deals

Top