Cylinder Head Bolts, RE-use, or RePLACE?

Gerald Morris

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FYI the chain auto parts store will lend a combustion gas analyzer kit for free( deposit and return the money).

So I saw. I copped the NAPA one. Home delivery due tomorrow. Paid primo for THAT, but I wanted it quick. Soon as I see it turn piss yellow, and it will, I then can start tear-down without any qualms.
 

cantflip

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So I saw. I copped the NAPA one. Home delivery due tomorrow. Paid primo for THAT, but I wanted it quick. Soon as I see it turn piss yellow, and it will, I then can start tear-down without any qualms.
When you conduct the test, be certain not to allow water/coolant to contaminate the test fluid... that style tester makes it very easy to do so. I prefer the multi compartment style because of this.
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As said before, usually it is available as a loaner tool. You can test the color change by cupping your hand and exhaling as you draw your breath into the tool... it tests for CO2 concentrations... then you can pump fresh air through and the fluid will return to blue and can be reused... careful not to dump used fluid back into the bottle if any possibility of contamination exists... even a drop of water can ruin the fluid.

This test require the thermostat to be open or removed... and patience... I spent an hour once using this to PROVE a failed head gasket that I knew had failed. Also, in the unlikely event that the head has warped or there's a crack somewhere... similar results will be shown... so inspect everything carefully upon tear down to make sure you don't waste you time and parts.

If you can, cancel the head bolts... unlikely you will ever NEED them. Even many torque to yield bolts used on later engines could be reused if they were measured for bolt stretch and in spec. Sorry I'm late to the party, but hope I've saved you time or money here.
 

Gerald Morris

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When you conduct the test, be certain not to allow water/coolant to contaminate the test fluid... that style tester makes it very easy to do so. I prefer the multi compartment style because of this.

Thanks big BIG Jeff! I ordered one yesterday from NAPA, which I could ill afford, but thought Certainty would be a good thing...

Then, this morning, the ONLY THING I can be CERTAIN OF is the SUBHUMANITY OF FEDEX MORON DRIVERS! One of their retards DELIVERED MY SHIT TO THE WRONG NEIGHBORHOOD, WRONG BIPED, GOT SOME ILLITERATE SCRAWL ON THE RECEIPT, AND CALLED IT "DELIVERED." I called their bullshit "Customer Support" and screamed and cursed into the phone mic until the AS* (Artificial Stupidity) FINALLY put me on to a LIVE BIPED, some Dimdoo in Dimdia, that took my call, heard my promises of bloody retribution on the next FedEx truck I catch on my street with equanimity, and at least did give a little priority to maybe do something about the misplaced waterpump gaskets it turns out I really DON'T need, though I thought it might be good to have. I'd LIKE to get that out of the way when working the cylinder heads, though I CAN do so without moving it. More inconvenience.

LESSON: GO GET EVERYTHING YOU CAN UNDER YOUR OWN POWER. DELIVERY DOLTS CAN'T EVEN FOLLOW GPS MAPS. THESE ANIMALS GET HIRED OVER THE LITERATE THOUGH. Triumph of the Swill, Affirmative Idiocy, et cetera, ad nauseum....

As said before, usually it is available as a loaner tool. You can test the color change by cupping your hand and exhaling as you draw your breath into the tool... it tests for CO2 concentrations... then you can pump fresh air through and the fluid will return to blue and can be reused... careful not to dump used fluid back into the bottle if any possibility of contamination exists... even a drop of water can ruin the fluid.

I saw that it could be loaned. I REALLY DON'T want to drive that motor more than a few blocks until I get those gaskets replaced. The oil still looks good, Deo gratias!, but the stuff in the radiator isn't too pretty anymore. Pardon my verbosity, but this keeps me from setting up a blind to ambush FedEx drivers from..... IFF I GET this thing today, which I now have doubts of, I might attempt it tonight, or not. Once my adrenal glands have been busy, it takes some time before I can do certain things. OTHER things I CAN do. This worries certain people.....

This test require the thermostat to be open or removed... and patience... I spent an hour once using this to PROVE a failed head gasket that I knew had failed. Also, in the unlikely event that the head has warped or there's a crack somewhere... similar results will be shown... so inspect everything carefully upon tear down to make sure you don't waste you time and parts.

The thermostat in there now opens quite readily, I'm happy to report, but for the sake of minimizing time spent and chances of accruing further damage to the engine, I probably WILL remove it again. It really makes very little difference whether the thing is in there or not right now. Such clues incline me to suspect a head gasket issue.

Granted, "PROOF" truly requires extreme rigor! Deductive reasoning seldom suffices for any sort of proof, as it begins with the very proposition one seeks proof of! Dangerous ground that. I started this exercise with the possibility of a defective head gasket as ONE possibility, then worked through various other likelihoods, eliminating them as I tested. To wit: I at least tried INDUCTIVE reasoning to figure out the problem. I went through all the lesser possibilities, and have arrived at this sorry pass.

If, by some miraculous chance, I get NO CO2 or CO in that now opaque soup in the cooling system, then I might try rooting out the block. I did this to Mathilda's 383, just as opportunity presented while replacing expansion plugs. I expect I'll get piss yellow test fluid tomorrow though. That radiator damn near burst from overpressure twice now. No big loss if it does, but I'd rather NOT go shopping for one this autumn.


If you can, cancel the head bolts... unlikely you will ever NEED them. Even many torque to yield bolts used on later engines could be reused if they were measured for bolt stretch and in spec. Sorry I'm late to the party, but hope I've saved you time or money here.

Amazon. They shipped yesterday. I can return them, or use them for the 400 I still want to build. Or sell them. They aren't likely to lose monetary value these daze anyway.

Good News! My snarling, threats and curses motivated FedEx to make things right TODAY. Not that I NEED those water pump housing gaskets really, and I plan to just stash them now. BUT, Principle arose, and I wanted what I had paid extra $ to get FAST, FAST! The driver wisely handed them to my 3 yr old. Somebody told him what to do with me. Good for them. Miserere me Domine. Mea culpa, mea culpa, Mea culpa! But I GOT what I paid for, WHEN I paid to get it!
 

Gerald Morris

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Today's developments can be seen on my other thread. I need to get to scrubbing and wrenching.....
 

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make sure the coolant level is an inch or 2 down in the upper radiator tank...this will give it room to expand ...you'll want the coolant warm but not at the point that it starts boiling or it will overflow and you'll suck coolant into the tester
 

Gerald Morris

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make sure the coolant level is an inch or 2 down in the upper radiator tank...this will give it room to expand ...you'll want the coolant warm but not at the point that it starts boiling or it will overflow and you'll suck coolant into the tester

Its actually 1.25 inches according to the FSM. Yes, I've done so since I got Mathilda, 5.5 yrs ago.
 

SuperDave

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Hey Jerry, I don't want to come over as a know it all, but not that long ago I had a similar issue with my ride running hotter than it should. Someone suggested I "test" it with the choke partially closed. This can be done with bailing wire or even a zip tie, rig it so the choke only opens up no more than halfway. That forces the motor to run rich, temporarily crutching up lean jets. Sonova bitch if it didn't work! So I used an Edelbrock rejet kit, only replacing the metering needles one size up and viola, problem solved! No more overheating. No other mods to the state of tune was required, it ran well enough before & I couldn't determine any change in the way it ran, other than the temp needle didn't climb as high as before. Now the only time it climbs past 190 is when outside temps exceed 90° & I'm ragging on it.

Now running lean can be a number of issues: trash in the carb partially blocking the metering jets, ethanol blended fuel, or even gas manufactures running oxidizers in their gas. For a while there, I recall tv commercials of one brand claiming they used "oxygenated" fuel in their pumps for cleaner emissions and claiming it gave you more power. More oxygen means a hotter, leaner burn. That's all well and fine for a car that uses computerized fuel injection & ignition, they can self tune for rich/lean gas & adjust accordingly. Not so much for those of us running carbs and mechanical distributors. Even summer/winter blends can necessitate breaking out the wrenches & screwdrivers to tweak our rides to run optimally. If replacing the gaskets and testing the coolant for exhaust gasses doesn't yield positive results, try the choke trick. See if it helps or not. If it does, that's your real issue, lean jetting.

As far as head bolts go, as someone who has built several dozens of motors over the last 4 decades, you can reuse head bolts on older "carbed" motors ONCE! And that's on a stock setup. After that they can stretch and pop a gasket. If upgrades like headers, high compression pistons and/or heads, anything that increases the horsepower or cylinder pressure 10% over stock, I recommend replacing the head bolts. Unless your the original owner of that 50 yr old Mopar, there's no telling if it's been apart before and if this is or isn't the second lap around the block with those fasteners. ARP bolts are good, fine quality, but maybe overkill on a stock motor. Your garden variety parts store replacements should serve well enough.

Just my two cents. Take it for whatever it's worth. I'm just trying to share my wealth of knowledge, wisdom & experience. "Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it".
 

Gerald Morris

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Hey Jerry, I don't want to come over as a know it all, but not that long ago I had a similar issue with my ride running hotter than it should. Someone suggested I "test" it with the choke partially closed. This can be done with bailing block with those fasteners. ARP bolts are good, fine quality, but maybe overkill on a stock motor. Your garden variety parts store replacements should serve well enough.
...
Just my two cents. Take it for whatever it's worth. I'm just trying to share my wealth of knowledge, wisdom & experience. "Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it".

Right ON Dave! I sincerely thank YOU for your sagacious advice, which did favorably effect the temperature overrun, a little. Partially closing the choke to increase fuel/air ratio mostly just throttled the engine to sputtering, and backfiring worse than ever on WOT, BUT, I opened up the idle jets 2 turns, and THAT DID slow the temperature overrun DOWN, for a few days.

I know now for SURE that this engine never had been opened, as amply demonstrated on my "Spinster" thread. So I reckon those original head bolts, which still had what I now guess was beeswax in their threads, after speculating at first it was Lubriplate, WILL hold for one more set of gaskets. I chose the FelPro head set with their fiber gaskets because their stuff is highly lauded for DIYdiots like myself.

Finding the absurd debris buildup to the bottoms of the expansion plugs on the passenger side, where that after market coolant heater-pump had been shunted in, feeding FROM the drain plug into 5/8" hose, then returning to the heater hose return up top diverted coolant flow from its proper path through the coolant jacket in the block, thus ASSURING that calcium ferro-oxalate crystals would pile up until they blocked even the coolant ports in the heads.

Thus basic fluid dynamics theory would predict, AND THUS DID IT HAPPEN!!! With just ONE exception, everyone who has seen the pictures, and read my verbose explanation of something better illustrated by diagram and Bernoulli's Equations has concurred with this assessment.

Last night, my hypothesis got final empirical "proof" when I saw that the DRIVER SIDE coolant jacket was CLEAR of anything but a little scale in the bottom, easily washed out. :D

I'm posting the remainder of this tedium in the Spinster thread.

Again, Sincere Thanks,

Gerald

P.S. I have an Edelbrock 1405 earmarked for this machine already! :)

P.P.S. DAMN GOOGLE'S LINGUISTIC INCOMPETENCE AND ARROGANCE!!! Their IDIOTIC spellchecker/prose-STOMPER took the "ferro-oxalate" I'd CORRECTLY spelled and changed it to "ferry-oxalate"! Comes from ARROGANCE such does. I'll pray that they get cured of this and yet live.....
 
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SuperDave

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I have an Edelbrock 1405 earmarked for this machine already!

Good call on the Eddy squirtbox. SuperDave approves. If dialing up the idle mix screws yielded positive results, you're on the right track.

If I may be so bold, I recommend ordering a rejet kit for this, along with a vacuum gauge to assist calibration. The Eddy name-brand kit comes with color coded springs and properly labeled jets and needles. I bought a Chinese knockoff kit for a fraction of the price and ran into snags. The springs lack the color coding, & with my experience with Chinese "stuff", I measured the needles with a micrometer that I just happen to own. Guess what? They're incorrectly labeled. Not by much, a few thousandths of an inch but enough to throw the calibration tables off. Not only that but the short leg of the L on the needles were a tad too long. Easy enough to correct with a file, a Dremel or a bench grinder. So it runs a tad richer than expected, to be honest, that worked for me. It did what I needed it to. Just a word, buyer beware regarding the cheap Chinese rejet kits hawked on fleaBay. If you intend to use the springs, it'll be trial and error to dial it in right. Save $30 and expect to spend a few hours extra labor to make it work. Or buy the Eddy kit, follow the instructions and be done quick like.

If it were my daily driver and my only set of wheels, sure I'd pop for the Eddy kit. But Project Turd is my "Hobby Car", & I enjoy spending time wrenching on it. When I do dial it in right, it comes with a sense of achievement & pride that the added expense and ease of a bolt-on product doesn't quite deliver. Sometimes you just wanna do it yourself, ya know?

Good luck and good wrenching to ya. Keep us posted on your progress.
 

Gerald Morris

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Good call on the Eddy squirtbox. SuperDave approves. If dialing up the idle mix screws yielded positive results, you're on the right track.

If I may be so bold, I recommend ordering a rejet kit for this, along with a vacuum gauge to assist calibration. The Eddy name-brand kit comes with color coded springs and properly labeled jets and needles. I bought a Chinese knockoff kit for a fraction of the price and ran into snags. The springs lack the color coding, & with my experience with Chinese "stuff", I measured the needles with a micrometer that I just happen to own. Guess what? They're incorrectly labeled. Not by much, a few thousandths of an inch but enough to throw the calibration tables off. Not only that but the short leg of the L on the needles were a tad too long. Easy enough to correct with a file, a Dremel or a bench grinder. So it runs a tad richer than expected, to be honest, that worked for me. It did what I needed it to. Just a word, buyer beware regarding the cheap Chinese rejet kits hawked on fleaBay. If you intend to use the springs, it'll be trial and error to dial it in right. Save $30 and expect to spend a few hours extra labor to make it work. Or buy the Eddy kit, follow the instructions and be done quick like.

If it were my daily driver and my only set of wheels, sure I'd pop for the Eddy kit. But Project Turd is my "Hobby Car", & I enjoy spending time wrenching on it. When I do dial it in right, it comes with a sense of achievement & pride that the added expense and ease of a bolt-on product doesn't quite deliver. Sometimes you just wanna do it yourself, ya know?

Good luck and good wrenching to ya. Keep us posted on your progress.

Got 3 vac gauges Hoss! Know how to use them for optimal tuning, diagnostics et al too. I hire a carb guru for my carb work. I have a 3yr old MONSTER who DESTROYS everything in her path, and carburetor work is OUT OF THE QUESTION HERE.

Will 1st finish my current "surgery" to clear Gertrude's bowels of old shit, then will see about how to priorotize the 'Brock. MUCH 2 DO w this car.

Looks like I MUST break open the pack of ARP bolts after all, damnit! The driver side bolts, by virtue of their being in a cleaner environment, accrued MORE HARD oxidation in the threads. I DARE NOT CUT METAL FROM THESE BOLTS, yet they won't permit my "test nut" to thread over them. Such bad threads would SURELY give a premature, false 70 ft. lb torque reading.

I have an extra set of head bolts, from a 383 I purchased as a short block, but they're of inderterminate quality, and also oxidized.

This was why IO bought those ARP bolts to start with. I feared this would be the case all along, but got lucky on the passenger side. Now I'm going to use half of what I bought.

Alas, but this is FAR better than risking a FUCKED UP MOTOR FOR THE SAKE OF CHEAP HEAD BOLT SAVINGS!

Will keep All Faithful Readers posted.

STAY TUNED!
 
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