head gasket job, intake removal - Ford Bronco Forum
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post #1 of 95 (permalink) Old 04-11-2017, 01:08 PM Thread Starter
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head gasket job, intake removal

Background info: '92 5.0L @ 191k with a fairly certain blown head gasket. Can't top off radiator; water just pours out the back of the block (previously thought to be freeze plug in the bellhousing, but appears to be over-flowing through the oil pan). Drained oil pan, came out looking like chocolate milk. No metal shavings in oil.

It's still TBD if the engine is in good enough shape to warrant servicing vs a full rebuild or replacement.

Removal of the upper manifold wasn't too difficult, largely thanks to knowing in advance about that bastardly T40 bolt tucked away in the middle. Lower manifold removal is where I'm stuck presently. I ordered a Haynes manual, since most of the specific questions refer people to it even though everyone says it covers too many years and vehicles to be particularly useful. We'll see.

I've removed 11 of the 12 lower manifold bolts. The 4 outer corner ones have presented a problem (the 8 inner ones were nowhere near torque specs and came out easily), with the 3 I removed all snapping at the base of the shaft. With how little metal is left at the start of the threads, I'm guessing they had rotted away. I read in another thread where someone had the same problem. Any idea why those 4 are in so much more of a corrosive environment? That'll be some fun bolt extracting once the manifold is off, especially the back 2 against the firewall... I already busted my main extractor bit working on the hardtop last month, trying to get out the two wrong-sized broken off bolts a PO had put in.



On the left is what the broken lower manifold bolts came out looking like. The other 2 are examples of the inner bolts coming out clean.


Here's where I could use a pointer...



I'm not sure what to do about removing water neck stuff (EEC coolant temp sensor connector) to release the lower manifold... (There's the 4th corner bolt, too, heavily soaked in PB Blaster. Tough to get straight on it at present.) The guides I've seen sort of skip over water neck and distributor removal, suddenly having a bare manifold. I know I have to remove the thermostat housing still, which will itself be quite fun with that infamous lower bolt blocked by the timing cover.

BTW, I capped that coolant line to the throttle body (1/8" brass plumbing fitting). I'm not a fan of heating up cold intake air, or having to take the lines off all the time for maintenance, and I've never experienced the theoretical throttle plate icing. I capped the other end at the radiator neck instead of connecting the two lines together, but I need to look up a coolant flow chart to make sure that flow avenue isn't needed before running it that way.



Side view of the sensor connector.

It looks like the sensor connector has to be disconnected at the end of the heater hot water tube on the passenger side (very bottom of the pic) to be able to unscrew it from the manifold? Even then, I'm not sure there's enough room to spin that long pipe to unscrew the sensor connector from the manifold. I feel like I'm missing something obvious.

Another BTW, why did Ford route the water neck through the intake manifold? That seems unnecessarily complicated for manifold removal, when there's no reason that I can see for the manifold to even extend that far forward. Heck, that decision is probably what led to the cramped quarters and blocked off lower t-stat housing bolt.


Side note: These retainer rings were a major PITA to get off the valve cover bolts that hold the injector wiring harness down. I'm sooooo glad Ford decided to save a couple cents per truck by not using nuts. Is there a trick to getting the retainer rings off without destroying them? It took forever to find angles to pry them up slowly.




In searching for how to remove the EEC coolant temperature sensor connector, I ran across this:

Ford Workshop Manuals > Bronco Full Size V8-302 5.0L (1986) > Engine, Cooling and Exhaust > Engine > Intake Manifold > Component Information > Service and Repair > Removal and Installation

It doesn't really shed any light on my current situation, but I haven't seen it linked or turning up in search results previously, so it might help others.
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post #2 of 95 (permalink) Old 04-11-2017, 03:21 PM
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I'm one of the guys that posted up with a similar problem on the corner bolts. Once you see where those bolts go to and the fact that they're by far the most exposed of all the manifold bolts, the fact that they're problem children begins to make sense.

Broke Lower Intake Manifold Bolt - What's Below It?

Once you disconnect the wiring and hoses, you do not need to remove the coolant tower to get the manifold off. In fact, it makes a nice handle to remove the lower with. You also don't have to take the thermostat housing off to get the manifold out.
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post #3 of 95 (permalink) Old 04-11-2017, 04:10 PM
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as said above, you can leave that in place and still remove the manifold. replacing a head gasket isn't hard in and of itself. but dealing with those bolts will be a challenge. you can take the heads to a machine shop and get the bolts cleaned out.

beware the rabbit hole of "while i'm doing ___ i might as well go ahead and do ___".

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post #4 of 95 (permalink) Old 04-11-2017, 04:24 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the link Spktyr, I hadn't seen that thread. That makes me hopeful that the rear ones can be finessed out by spinning them from the bottom, if they extend through a bit. I'll know more once I have the manifold out of the way.

So, to get the the manifold out of there, I just disconnect the other end of the hard pipe on the water tower? Sounds like all I need to do is remove (i.e. snap!) the final corner bolt and lift up. Does the distributor need to come out? The video I watched took it out...glossing over those steps but I found a few useful tips:

https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/8...ml#post7863608
https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/1...l#post11252146

You guys have given me the virtual hug I needed! :) Getting the lower manifold out of there should be the final hurdle to determining the extent of the damage. Well, that and unbolting the exhaust headers to get the heads out, assuming they need machine shop attention.

For people that have replaced the head gaskets, did you go with the basic Fel-pro's at ~$8 per side, or the full kit? Most of what's in the kit is the same stuff I already got in the Fel-pro manifold kit, and as far as I could tell, the other stuff tends toward things the machine shop would address if I bring the heads to them.
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post #5 of 95 (permalink) Old 04-11-2017, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by fodder View Post
So, to get the the manifold out of there, I just disconnect the other end of the hard pipe on the water tower? Sounds like all I need to do is remove (i.e. snap!) the final corner bolt and lift up. Does the distributor need to come out? The video I watched took it out...glossing over those steps but I found a few useful tips:
In order: Yes, in fact you likely can't get that tower off with the valve covers on. Wouldn't snap it, would try to get it out as best you can. Yes, the distributor must come out.

Also, keep in mind that there's likely to be some stiction with the original seals when you try to get the intake off, so you may have to carefully do some prying and levering.
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post #6 of 95 (permalink) Old 04-11-2017, 04:37 PM Thread Starter
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I was kidding about snapping it, expecting it to happen but not intending to do so. Yeah, I was expecting the manifold to be stuck on pretty good once unbolted, from what I've seen and read.

I guess I should have included removal of the accessories (AC and alternator) among the remaining hurdles, but I think I've got a handle on how to do that.
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post #7 of 95 (permalink) Old 04-11-2017, 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Spktyr View Post
the distributor must come out.
why? what am i forgetting that he must remove it?

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post #8 of 95 (permalink) Old 04-11-2017, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Spktyr View Post
the distributor must come out.
why? what am i forgetting that he must remove it?
With the pre-93 trucks, it can technically be done with the distributor in but the quarters are so tight that you'll wish you had just gone ahead and removed it to start with. I have never seen anyone successfully remove it with the stock distributor still installed, not without breaking something. The distributor mounted TFI module on the pre-93/94 trucks is very much in the way on the 5.0 and it's annoying on the 5.8. Just save yourself a lot of pain and cursing and remove the distributor first.
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post #9 of 95 (permalink) Old 04-11-2017, 07:48 PM
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Also, with the valve cover gaskets, you may want to get the fel-pro perm-a-dry blue reusesble gaskets. They don't need rtv, are reusable, and are much less likely to leak later on than the stock cork ones. I think they are like $20 just for the valve cover gaskets but well worth it. Although as you have discovered, it's not that hard to remove the upper intake manifold if the passenger side valve cover gasket were to leak again (I.e. You saved money by going with stock gaskets).

Also, I am running the same pipe plug in my 87. Not saying it's right but that's what I did and it doesn't overheat or anything.
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post #10 of 95 (permalink) Old 04-11-2017, 07:51 PM
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I just pulled the manifold and heads on my 5.8 and I also broke both front corner manifold bolts. I pulled the distributor on mine because I didn't think the manifold would clear it, but I am also doing the oil pan so pulling it would hopefully save me some grief down the road. Naturally, the distributor was frozen in the block and needed the hot wrench and CRC Freeze-Off to get it free. I was going to try to get the broken bolts out the heads myself, but have decided to let the machine shop handle it before I really flub it up! The water neck on the manifold for the heater hose needed some heat to break it loose from the manifold. The bottom unscrewed from the manifold while I held the upper with a wrench. Like a swivel fitting unless I broke something else! Yours looks different so I can't tell you if it swivels or not.

Fix it, or fix it so someone has to!
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post #11 of 95 (permalink) Old 04-11-2017, 11:12 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the additional feedback and tips. I didn't get a notification of the new replies and just now saw them. I probably won't be able to get much done until the weekend, as the rain picked back up and is expected to be steady the rest of the week. Trying to keep an open engine dry in those conditions is tough, especially with how worthless the cowl drip rail is, even after trying to improve upon it.

Festus, I really hope I don't end up with a frozen distributor like you and many others have reported. How does pulling the distributor help with doing the oil pan? Just curious, because I'll probably have to lift the engine and do my oil pan at the end of this process.
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post #12 of 95 (permalink) Old 04-11-2017, 11:43 PM
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There is a hex shaft that goes into the bottom of the distributor that drives the oil pump. From what I've read, it can be a pain when you change the oil pan by jacking up the motor. I know that many years ago, my friend managed to have the shaft fall into the oil pan while he was messing with the distributor in his Mustang.

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post #13 of 95 (permalink) Old 04-12-2017, 01:26 AM Thread Starter
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^ That sounds awful, both in design and experience. Let's hope it was an isolated incident!
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post #14 of 95 (permalink) Old 04-12-2017, 01:49 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sharpshooter109 View Post
Also, with the valve cover gaskets, you may want to get the fel-pro perm-a-dry blue reusesble gaskets. They don't need rtv, are reusable, and are much less likely to leak later on than the stock cork ones. I think they are like $20 just for the valve cover gaskets but well worth it.
I just checked on AutoZone and they're $30.49, #VS13264T, available in-store. As luck would have it, I got an email coupon this week only for $7.50 off $30+ in-store and couldn't come up with anything good to use it on. I hadn't bought valve cover gaskets yet, so I might as well spend a few bucks more for the better ones.

Is it worth getting the similar looking Fel-pro 1135-1 "performance" head gasket? It is PermaTorque MLS as opposed to Permadry Plus. At 5x the cost of the regular Fel-pro head gasket, it better be an improvement! Seems oriented more to racing than regular use, though.
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post #15 of 95 (permalink) Old 04-12-2017, 12:33 PM Thread Starter
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Woohoo, I coerced the 4th corner bolt out of the lower manifold! It had a lot of sand grit in the threads but no major corrosion.

Pulling the alternator to free its accessory bracket up from the head, I ran across this...



That's a stout chunk of metal to be broken clean off. One more thing to go junkyard hopping for... It probably semi-held in place, since the broken chunk was held against the rest of the bracket once tightened down. This truck has definitely lived a good truck life!

I actually took the alternator off at this early stage because I can't get to the hose clamp on the water tower pipe with it in place, since the pinch clamp is angled down and wedged tight against the back of the alternator. The hard pipe doesn't afford any wiggle room.
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post #16 of 95 (permalink) Old 04-12-2017, 03:09 PM
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Looks like you need a new bracket.
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post #17 of 95 (permalink) Old 04-12-2017, 03:22 PM Thread Starter
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Looks like you need a new bracket.
Yup. I went out to the junkyard and the only '92-96 5.0L brackets I found were a totally different design ('95, I believe). There were a couple 5.8L brackets that looked the same as mine, but I couldn't get the lower bolt off with just a wrench (probably should have tried pulling the smog pump), so will have to go back with different tools. I might as well take mine off so I can bring it in as a comparison.

While there, I asked if they had any '92-93 5.0L or 5.8L engines in stock. They don't, but the yard an hour away has a 70k mile 5.8L for $500. That's pretty darn tempting, but I I don't have too much further to go cost-wise with my 5.0L to determine its health.
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post #18 of 95 (permalink) Old 04-12-2017, 03:25 PM
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The bracket will be the same on a a same year 5.0 or 5.8.
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post #19 of 95 (permalink) Old 04-12-2017, 04:57 PM Thread Starter
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With the pre-93 trucks, it can technically be done with the distributor in but the quarters are so tight that you'll wish you had just gone ahead and removed it to start with. I have never seen anyone successfully remove it with the stock distributor still installed, not without breaking something.
I hope you're sitting down... The lower manifold came out easily with the distributor installed! I'm happy to be the first at something good for a change. :)

I was looking at the distributor, trying to figure out what is meant by the pointer, then decided to just try my luck at getting the manifold out since I could lift the passenger side pretty easily by the water tower's horizontal pipe (good call). Sure enough, the right side lifted without much resistance and I was able to slide it back far enough to clear the distributor, then angle it this way and that to get out from under the firewall curve.

However, what greeted me after that is nothing short of a horror story...







The oil/coolant mixture isn't a big surprise, but the amount of dirt and state of the gaskets...wow.

I think this link should take you to full-size versions of those pics, although they aren't showing up currently, so maybe there's a delay in the public page:

1992 Ford Bronco Head Gasket project pictures, videos, and sounds | SuperMotors.net
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post #20 of 95 (permalink) Old 04-12-2017, 05:26 PM
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that hurts. so i'm sure you're gonna have to weigh your options...but if you rebuild, are you thinking of swapping to a 351? you mentioned one earlier. that just takes you to another level of modification. you'd need a new computer, i'm pretty sure.

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