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Thread: going in for the headgasket replacement !

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    Van Enthusiast joegri's Avatar
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    going in for the headgasket replacement !

    hi gang i made the decission yesterday to go ahead and replace the head gasket! seems recently when i start the van i wants to run on 3 cylinders then a few seconds later its fine. also i,m tired of having to add coolant everyday(a cup or so). i,ve done this repair on a previos van with success and quite confident it,ll be fine. just time and money! which i dont have alot of both but there is no other option! but best of all i have experience at this task/ some o.k. weather and TVT to help me along! ther just 1 more decision to make. that is if the head is cracked what is next? i have a motor in the basement and another in my previous van that ran beatiful. so i wont know till monday or tuesday what my tact will be. if i have to swap motors will the motor come out through the passenger door without removing the door? or will it come out through the cargo door? that is the question for me at this time. so leave a light for me and i,ll post some pics as i go along. " cover me i,m goin in" !!!

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    Re: going in for the headgasket replacement !

    I've always pulled them out through the passenger door but I've also heard of them being pulled out the cargo door. Theojo (a member here) prefers to drop them out from underneath. I've never tried to pull them out the passenger door without 1st removing the door, but I cannot imagine that being any fun. I briefly considered pulling out the cargo door, but considering the rear AC unit and the height of the "hump" I thought that would be a PITA. If your van doesn't have the rear AC unit on the ceiling it might be worth a shot. Here's a couple of threads where I'm pulling engines:

    https://www.toyotavantech.com/forum/...4y-engine-swap

    https://www.toyotavantech.com/forum/...eekend-project

    I'll be pulling another engine this way (above) in the next week or so.

    Here's a thread where Theojo describes dropping one out from underneath:

    https://www.toyotavantech.com/forum/...=2338#post2338

    As for the head, if it ends up being cracked, I know there are places that weld them, but I would avoid a welded head. I like your plan of swapping in a known good one.

    Good luck with your project. Regardless of how you do it, please take some pics and share the experience with us! Tim

    PS: Here is an article that may help you with your project: https://www.toyotavantech.com/forum/...ng-Head-Gasket

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    Van Enthusiast joegri's Avatar
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    Re: going in for the headgasket replacement !

    thanx for that tim. well i started the headgasket job and i,m here to say... what a pain in the butt!! the nearest i can figure is cuz this van sat for so many years many of the nuts/bolts were just rusted on there pretty good man. i had to use a tourch on some and i even managed to snap a few also, but after allday saturday and most of easter sunday i got that baby off. and after close inspection of the gasket i really could,nt tell whwere it was cracked. but i,m leaning on the back cylinder. and after seeing that sounds wierd but i,m hoping the head is cracked! just so i can put the motor that has been liveing in my basement for 6 years could finnaly find a good resting place.the head was dropped off at the machine shop this morning and i should get a call if it,s cracked. anyway here are a few pics... there is a headgasket here somewhere!!! i,ll tell you what we gotta be crazy to do this stuff! i did ths repair 6 years ago and i,m thinkin i must have lost a step or 2 cuz man i was real sore from climbing under then stretchin over the top and getting in positoins that a 56 year old body just cant go where it used to go lol.
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    Re: going in for the headgasket replacement !

    Quote Originally Posted by joegri View Post
    i was real sore from climbing under then stretchin over the top and getting in positoins that a 56 year old body just cant go where it used to go lol.
    Lol, I hear you man. I'm not THAT old yet, but not far behind. It's amazing how some jobs will make you aware of muscles you didn't even know you had. The day you stop is the day you are truly old . So keep on turn'n them wrenches . Tim

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    Re: going in for the headgasket replacement !

    i recieved my head for the shop n all seems to be ready for reassembly. i,m kinda bummed that they did,nt really make it shiney so, i,ll go ahead n clean it. i also have many parts that need cleaning and saw that timsrv has used mineral spirits...think i,ll try that along with some carb cleaner and a selection of brushes.i also think i,m gonna cut an access door too(rear hump) for future use if i need it lol.cuz i have my lil beater honda to get to work think i,ll take my time and check n clean stuff while it,s open.i guess you could say "its all down hill from here" when yer van is "down" ye realize how much you need it! now is the time to be careful and deliberant. more to come.
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    Re: going in for the headgasket replacement !

    I'm really missing mine too. I've almost got my core engine ready to assemble so I'm pulling my broken engine out today. I'll sure be glad to have my van back. I'm slowly documenting my work here in my blogs: https://www.toyotavantech.com/forum/blog.php?2-timsrv

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    Re: going in for the headgasket replacement !

    well after 3 weekends i finnaly got the van running again! everything seems to be fine but, i,ve only put a few miles on it. i spect it,s me but, the motor feels tight. i cant explain what i mean but it feels/sounds different.now that the job is done i can remember sayin to myself"i,ll never get this back together" but i did . just a few pics for ya,ll. note the access hatch i cut in the rear firewall.the only concern i have now is a moan sound thats comming from the either the belt tentioner or the power steering pump. i,ll have to isolate that today or in the next few days.
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    Re: going in for the headgasket replacement !

    Nice! Good luck troubleshooting that noise. After a long series of delays I got my short block assembled yesterday. I also got my auto transmission rebuilt. I'm going through everything and my busy season is upon me now. I also got the dash out to troubleshoot some annoying electrical problems. On Saturday I picked up an extra rear end at the salvage yard and think I'm going to put a posi-track unit in it. New drive line is also on the way. I'm obsessed........something is definitely wrong with me . Tim

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    Re: going in for the headgasket replacement !

    Doing the headgasket...trying to take off the intake manifold but there are a couple bolts on the back of the engine I just cant seem to reach-how the heck do you get to those? The ones right above the the hose of death. I'm thinking I may have to cut an access hole. Any suggestions? The manifold is loose but those bolts are just inaccessible.

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    Re: going in for the headgasket replacement !

    I've done it without an access hole before, but the access hole makes it a lot easier. These little bolts have 10mm heads and they hold the metal tubes (for vacuum and the bypass hose) to the intake manifold. An alternate way is to remove or cut the hoses, then remove the intake with the metal tubes still attached. If you don't cut the access hole, these can be removed by using a 10mm wrench and feel. There is also the bracket that holds the 2 manifold halves together. This can also be done without the hole, but it's a PITA. After doing it once without the hole, I quit wasting time & just start out by cutting the hole. With the access hole it's easier as you can see these and get to them much easier.

    For situations when I'm removing the engine, I will usually unbolt everything, remove the motor mounts, then use my cherry picker to move the engine forward a few inches. At this point it's much easier to get these out without an access hole. Of course this wouldn't help as you're not removing the engine (at least not this time). I'd recommend cutting the hole. Tim

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    Re: going in for the headgasket replacement !

    thanks Tim for confirming my suspicions. the Hg removal seemed to be going a little too quickly. How would they do this at the dealer without cutting into a customers van? they sure didn't think we'd be taking the manifold off did they?
    I think i'll cut the hoses and then cut the access hole when i have, uh, access.

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    Re: going in for the headgasket replacement !

    Being able to remove the manifold without an access hole separates the real mechanics from the back-yard variety . To make things worse they made the injector harness impossible to remove without cutting it off (and this prevents you from removing the manifolds and head as an assembly). You could however pull the head and manifolds together, move it all forward (for access), then split the manifold and remove the injector harness. I know we complain a lot about the hose of death (by-pass hose), but these aren't really all that terrible to deal with once the valve cover is off (which it will be for access to head bolts). Reaching back there with a pair of dykes to snip the hose is actually pretty easy. I'd still cut the hole though, because you still have to put everything back together . Tim

    PS: On the van I rebuilt the engine for, I built my own removable injector harness. I did this simply because I wanted to completely assemble the engine in the garage, then drop it in as an assembly.

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    Re: going in for the headgasket replacement !

    dj...go ahead and don't be scared just get a drill and make a few holes to make the rough outline of the shape of yer new acess port. in my case I cut 3 sides of the square and bent it over.when the job is done just just bend it back and duct tape that mess over.only you and us know you did it. you,ll be glad you did! best of luck to ya. joe g

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    Re: going in for the headgasket replacement !

    Here's a picture of the back of the engine. It may help for reference if you're using the braille method for identifying and removing bolts. Tim


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    Re: going in for the headgasket replacement !

    thanks Tim and Joe. That helps. I was trying to use the braille method, and going from underneath but no luck-was gonna cut the hole after I got the head out but it seems there's no way to get those bolts(for me) holding the intake onto the head without a hole. I'll let you know when I succeed. Thanks again folks.

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    Re: going in for the headgasket replacement !

    well got it off, thanks to my new hole. what a pain in the everything-I still don't think it's possible to take that intake off without a hole. Those toyota mechanics must know some serious secrets or magic and I'm sure the right tools help too-or they cut a hole and keep that a secret?
    now for the exhaust manifold, and head.

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    Re: going in for the headgasket replacement !

    Got the head off, phew that took some work. How's my head look? The valves on the right look real dirty compared to the others. I was going through A Lot of oil, guessing this is a symptom of that. The gasket didn't really look too bad and my cylinder didn't have that "clean" look I've seen others have when the cylinder has been burning coolant. Oh well I'll be taking the head in to be checked. Anyone know a good head resurfacer in Portland?
    Thanks again.
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    Re: going in for the headgasket replacement !

    It's a bit disappointing to not see any sure sign of a bad head gasket after removing the head. Based on the way things look in that photo & what you said before, I'm guessing you have a problem with the oil control rings in #4.......possibly #3. Still, as you said, the next thing to do is take the head to a machine shop and have it checked over. If the valve guides are worse in #3 & #4 it might explain the difference in build-up/oil consumption, but I'm guessing it's stuck or damaged oil rings. Can you see visible scoring on any of the cylinder walls?

    When it comes to machine shops I'm sure there are lots of good ones out there, but unfortunately there are also ones that aren't so good. A general rule of thumb is you get what you pay for. Based on personal experience I lean towards the shops that specialize in racing and/or high performance engines. These shops tend to have more attentive machinists and usually do better quality work. They usually charge a bit more, but the difference isn't drastic. I use Nutter Racing Engines in Vancouver, WA but I'm sure there's others in Portland. Just Google "racing engines portland oregon". If you use a racing engine shop, just be prepared to take a little crap about it being a "lowly import rice burner" . Compared to the stuff they normally work on these things are "wimpy" but the principals are the same and the machining practices don't change.

    Regardless of who you take it to, be sure to tell them the valves are non-adjustable so they need to compensate for the machine work by grinding the valve stems. They will probably already know that, but it doesn't hurt to remind them. If you purchased your own gasket set, bring them the valve guide seals or they will likely use aftermarket (may or may not make a difference depending on what they use). For all I know, they may have something better, in which case I'd probably go with whatever they recommend. Tim

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    Re: going in for the headgasket replacement !

    Thanks Tim, you are the best.
    So, rings means a disassemble huh? Oh man, no time for that. I didn't see any scoring on the cylinder walls of #4, actually that #4 looked smooth as glass but I'll take a second look.
    And no signs of a busted Hg, but it was doing all the tell-tale signs: Coolant out the overflow after driving on the highway for more than a half hour, and tiny bubbles(isn't that a song?) you could see under the radiator cap. Maybe I didn't burp it enough but I burped it a bunch...
    Oh well, we'll see what the head shop says.

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    87 toyota van head gasket

    question, when removing the cylinder from this van, is it necessary to remove the manifolds with the head? if not where do i access the lower intake to cylinder head bolts? thanks steve

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