North American Turbocoupe Organization



Blown head gasket on 2.3 - need opinions on replacement
BradM Offline
Member
#1
I blew out my Fel Pro 8993 head gasket after 5k miles. I did not retorque it (Fel Pro says no need). It was a clean install done on a stand. My arm torque meter measured very even (and heavy) torque on all 10 ARP head studs when removing. I'm running 22-23psi on a street car T3/T4, PiMPx, Gnari, Stinger 3" downpipe/exhaust, bigger injectors, FMIC, etc. The 8993 is the OEM part and I've read that some folks think it's good to 450hp (but what pressure?). My car dynoed 240hp at the wheels (running a T5 and posi). The Fel Pro 1035 is the high performance upgrade. What are the pros and cons of using this gasket? Why wouldn't everyone use the hi-po part? I don't want to have to pull the head again...what a pain. Thanks.


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1965 Mercury Comet Caliente; 1968 Mercury Monterey; 1969 F100 Ranger; 1987 Thunderbird Turbo Coupe; 2017 Police Interceptor
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John B Offline
Member
#2
Dam, that really sucks; especially after 5k miles. Here's what I've heard from others regarding the 8993 versus 1035 and ARP head studs:
- 8993 is a stock style replacement; desirable for installs where the engine block and/or head haven't been decked/either aren't perfectly flat
- 1035 is a more performance oriented replacement; highly recommended that the block and head are decked as this gasket is less forgiving than the 8993. Recommended for very high HP applications
- I've always read from other members that the ARP Studs should be retorqued after the first full heat cycle

My understanding is that the 8993 can handle most applications before horsepower exceeds the stock short block capabilities (450ish whp) granted the tune is on point. I'm thinking your situation may have happened from not retorqueing the ARP studs. This is just a guess. I see you're running a Pimp; how does the tune look? Enough fuel, good AFR under boost, and ignition timing?

Really appreciate others chiming in as well. I will be installing a Stage 3 head this spring and plan to use a 8993 gasket but with TTY head bolts.
88 Turbo Coupe: Front mount intercooler, MGW short throw shifter, full coilover conversion, tubular control arms front and rear, svo front brakes, vacuum assist brake swap, manual steering swap, GT35R turbo with external gate, pimpx ecu, 60lb injectors, 3 core aluminum radiator, Boport 1.5 cam, gutted upper, corbeau fixed back seats, and the list goes on.
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BigJake Offline
Member
#3
Any pinging when driving hard cause excess pinging or detonation is really hard on the head gasket.

I use that same 8993 gasket too on a Boport stage 3 head running 26 lbs of boost and more timing with no problems on 93 octane. Head bolts are 12 point I think but not TTY ones. I do a heat cycle and re torque them too.

I'd run a square on the head and block where it blew and if no issues slap another one on and a heat cycle re-torque and go.

I had to pull my head off last March when my timing belt broke and bent some valves but the head gasket still look great.

Good Luck !
1987 Thunderbird Turbo Coupe 5 speed Boosting 25 PSI with Boport/Stinger parts !
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BradM Offline
Member
#4
Thanks John and BigJake for the input. The data log looks good as far as AFR and boost. I hit 23psi but to be honest, I was holding 5000rpm way longer than usual. I do have some occasional pinging and have been working on the timing since the build. It doesn't seem crazy bad though. In the picture below, you can see the dark spot on the #3 cylinder on the intake side. That's the blow out. But #2 looks dark in the same area and even #1 and #4 are discolored in the same area. There is no gasket material on the deck in this picture. And where the head bolts go through, you can see these areas are shiny. I'll check to see if the deck or head are warped but maybe re-torqueing would have helped. I have both gaskets ordered and will have to decide. I think the 1035 is thinner and will increase compression a tiny bit. Do you stick with OEM torque specs with the Bopart?


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1965 Mercury Comet Caliente; 1968 Mercury Monterey; 1969 F100 Ranger; 1987 Thunderbird Turbo Coupe; 2017 Police Interceptor
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spittinfire Offline
Member
#5
If it were me, I would check the deck and head for flatness. If they are flat enough (there has to be a spec somewhere), I would use the 1035 gasket after a bunch of time with some scotch bright to clean both surfaces really well.

How did you feel about how it ran on the dyno? Your build sounds very similar to what I have in mind.
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Jeff K Offline
Administrator
#6
I have had a 1035 HG on the TC for 20 years / 100K miles with no issues. Running 24 psi boost with methanol injection. Original head cracked 2 years after I got the car due to me being stupid. Local machine shop happened to have a fully refurbished head on the shelf, which I bought as a replacement. Block was checked and found to be in spec for flatness, so I went with the 1035 HG and new TTA head bolts that, if I remember correctly, were for a Ranger 2.3.

99% of the time I drive the car easy, and the other 1% of the time I push it to the limit. I always drive it easy until all fluids are up to operating temperature so differential thermal expansion is not an issue.
Jeff Korn

88 Turbo Coupe: Intake and exhaust mods, T3 turbo at 24 psi, forced air IC, water injection, BPV, Ranger cam, subframes, etc., etc.
86 Tbird 5.0 (original owner): intake, exhaust, valvetrain mods, 100 HP N2O, ignition, gears, suspension, etc., etc.
11 Crown Vic Interceptor
14 Toyota Camry (wifes car)
95 Taurus GL Vulcan winter beater
67 Honda 450 Super Sport - completely customized
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BigJake Offline
Member
#7
I didn't see the 2 alignment dowels on the block are they still in the head ?
1987 Thunderbird Turbo Coupe 5 speed Boosting 25 PSI with Boport/Stinger parts !
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BradM Offline
Member
#8
Yes, they're in the block. Does anyone happen to know the warpage tolerance for the 2.3? I've read that .003-.004 is acceptable as a general rule but haven't found the spec for the 2.3.
1965 Mercury Comet Caliente; 1968 Mercury Monterey; 1969 F100 Ranger; 1987 Thunderbird Turbo Coupe; 2017 Police Interceptor
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spittinfire Offline
Member
#9
HEAD GASKET SURFACE FLATNESS 0.003 in any 6" -).006 overall

http://www.merkurencyclopedia.com/Motor/...specs.html
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BradM Offline
Member
#10
Perfect. Thanks!
1965 Mercury Comet Caliente; 1968 Mercury Monterey; 1969 F100 Ranger; 1987 Thunderbird Turbo Coupe; 2017 Police Interceptor
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