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Is this supposed to be there?

Tymont

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My son's 1990 Ranger with 2.9L started running real rough. I noticed coolant coming from the tailpipe. I assumed cracked head. When we tore the engine down, we found no damage to the heads at all. There was coolant in the oil, and coolant on top of the driver side pistons. But no noticable cracks or warping to the heads. So I thought we got lucky and just had a blown gasket.
That is, untill we started degreasing everything and getting a better look at the block. That's when I noticed an irregular hole at the back of the lifter valley, to the right of the distributor.
(See attached image)
My question... Is that hole supposed to be there? Or, is the block shot?
Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.
 

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gaz

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Tymont,

It is the coolant passage hole, the is an identical passage on the passenger side front (for comparison).

From what you have written it does sound like a blown gasket. We're you able to inspect the integrity of both head gaskets during disassembly?
 

Tymont

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I went back and took a closer look. There is no identical hole on the front passenger side. I looked closer into the hole and saw the gears on the end of the cam. I'm afraid this block is shot.
I guess at this point I'm looking for confirmation.
 

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2 bronco 11s

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Ill check in the morning have intake off my 90.
 

19Walt93

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I think you're looking down an oil drainback hole. If you poke a long screw driver in the nearest coolant passage and can see it in the hole, I'm wrong. We had some problems with 2.9/4.0 heads cracking between the valve seats and leaking into the cylinders and under the valve covers which leaked into the oil.
 

PetroleumJunkie412

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I think you're looking down an oil drainback hole. If you poke a long screw driver in the nearest coolant passage and can see it in the hole, I'm wrong. We had some problems with 2.9/4.0 heads cracking between the valve seats and leaking into the cylinders and under the valve covers which leaked into the oil.
Oil drain back. My block has the same hole.

Stick a BBQ skewer or screwdriver alllllllllll around the pistons inside the water jacket while the heads are off. You probably have casting sand stuck in there. Get it out. Mine had a ton.
 

Tymont

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Thanks for the info. I will check it again in the morning.
 

snoranger

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Yes, it belongs there. No, your block isn’t shot because of it.
It’s an oil return drain. It’s common for it to look like crap.
 

Tymont

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Thank you so much for the information. I can't express how grateful I am. My son was very disappointed to think his engine might be ruined.
He loves his old truck.
 

2 bronco 11s

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It appears to me the intake gasket was leaking. Even though water doesn't go in the intake back there the gasket does seal a water jacket.
 

Nez'sRanger

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I HIGHLY recommend taking the heads to a shop to be magnafluxed. I had the same thing when I bought my Ranger. Took the heads off, couldn't see cracks, but when the shop checked it out, the magnaflux found a doozy of a crack. It would save you a TON of work.
 

dirtymike

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Yes on the magnaflux. If you don't have time for it the first time there is always a second try coming around. LOL
 

Tymont

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Well, I didn't do the magnaflux. Hope that isn't a mistake.
Today we finally got it to the point of trying to start it. I am stumped. When I turn it over, the ground from the block to the firewall gets very hot and smokes. Any suggestions?
 

Tymont

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Update... It stopped heating the ground. I can get it to turn over and start using starter fluid. But it does as soon as the starter fluid is gone.
Should I be able to hear the fuel pump?
 

Paulos

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Well, I didn't do the magnaflux. Hope that isn't a mistake.
Today we finally got it to the point of trying to start it. I am stumped. When I turn it over, the ground from the block to the firewall gets very hot and smokes. Any suggestions?
The ground should go from the passenger side of the block to the frame, and then to the negative battery terminal. It's possible that a '90 Ranger would not ground to the frame, but it should be a 4 gauge wire from block to battery. There should be a smaller wire tapped into the 4 gauge ground that goes towards the fenderwell, and then to the ECM. But if the ground that is getting hot is smaller than a 4 gauge battery cable, your system is not grounded properly.
The attached picture is of an '89, which I would think should be about the same as a '90.
20220106_184309-cropped.jpg
 

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