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Old 09-16-2020, 06:04 PM   #1
makebrickgovroom
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Question blew my first head gasket, what to do next?

title pretty much says all -- my first head-gasket went last night (doing things i shouldn't have been doing ) , and i'm curious what my next steps should be. roommate and i didn't hear a knock when trying to crank it over, and there was a minimal amount of coolant in the oil (like maybe a 1/4 of a quart). gonna do the dye trick for diagnosing the head and block mating surfaces. assuming everything's ok ( which i doubt the heads gonna come out of this straight) what else should i check? bearings? oil pump? rings? assuming i do need machine work, anyone know a good machine shop in denver/boulder?
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Old 09-16-2020, 06:09 PM   #2
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First, what shouldn't you have been doing? We have to get that out of the way.
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Old 09-16-2020, 08:56 PM   #3
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First, what shouldn't you have been doing? We have to get that out of the way.
hooning down county roads going way too fast for the setting. i was in 4th going upwards of 90mph deep in boost, just starting to creep up on 5k. then boom. power cut, engine dies, temp gauge spikes and a plume of white smoke envelopes the car. i was kicking myself because i've had a hunch for about 2 weeks at this point that something wasn't super right with my hg. but each block test was fine (the fluid never outright turned green or yellow, even pumping for 5+minutes during a warm idle) i was super stoked cause i finally got my tune to a place where it wasn't pinging to ****, and i wanted to see how she'd do stretching her legs a little. i definitely pushed it too far but it felt great for the hour or 2 i had her running hard i'm just excited to get back to work and get her going again
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Old 09-16-2020, 09:35 PM   #4
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Buy a wideband so you don't do that again. How much boost on what turbo?

Don't bother with the dye stuff, just get it cut flat, unless you have money and time to throw away. replace the gasket, and fix whatever caused it.
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Old 09-16-2020, 10:01 PM   #5
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Once this pandemic !#@^$& is over, we'll need to get together and compare my rebuilt B21FT+LH2.4 AW71 wagon to your B21FT+MS sedan.

For machine shops, western engine supply in Denver does lots of business, but they probably don't know much about old Volvos. For surfacing a head, they'll be fine. You should call them and ask if there's a day/time during the week where they can surface it while you wait.

The 2nd shop that I used for my rebuild was AMS in Ft.Collins (run by Darin), and they do a big business in old classics, tractors, etc. Very competent and good to work with. The first 1st shop that I used, Peak Performance [sic] in Longmont, is fortunately no longer in business.
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Old 09-16-2020, 10:54 PM   #6
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Invest in a good 1/2" breaker bar, 24mm deep impact socket, impact 14mm socket, 1/2" impact extension (maybe 8" long"), and buy a 3-4 foot pipe at the hardware store that slips over your 1/2" breaker bar handle. You may wanna pick up the crank holder tool too.

To break the crank bolt free and do the headbolts, you are gonna need that pipe.

And for the torque on the headbolts, I just go by feel. I do the first light pass, then a medium pass, and then turn em until I feel the right amount of resistance.
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Old 09-16-2020, 11:21 PM   #7
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A "Master Tech" doesn't use a torque wrench? Use one, and don't trust anyone who is too good to use one. You will not get an even torque.

The crank bolt will break free easily with an impact gun, and it will tighten it back up also. And head bolts come free with out a pipe on the wrench, unless you have the upper arm strength of a 12 year old girl. They are not that tight.

Not trying to mess with ya ZVOLV, but that is not really good advice for someone we do not know their level of expertise. You may know what the torque feels like, not safe to assume someone else does.
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Old 09-16-2020, 11:46 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by ZVOLV View Post
Invest in a good 1/2" breaker bar, 24mm deep impact socket, impact 14mm socket, 1/2" impact extension (maybe 8" long"), and buy a 3-4 foot pipe at the hardware store that slips over your 1/2" breaker bar handle. You may wanna pick up the crank holder tool too.

To break the crank bolt free and do the headbolts, you are gonna need that pipe.

And for the torque on the headbolts, I just go by feel. I do the first light pass, then a medium pass, and then turn em until I feel the right amount of resistance.

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Old 09-16-2020, 11:47 PM   #9
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Head gasket/seal set, straight edge the head and use feeler gauges to make sure it's flat enough, put it back together. Use a torque wrench. Good opportunity to do water pump, hoses, etc. Maybe turn down the boost a little.

https://www.fcpeuro.com/products/vol...-victor-270689
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Old 09-16-2020, 11:53 PM   #10
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Change the timing belt and tensioner while you're at it, and maybe the front seals.

Inspect the wire bundle that wraps under the front of the engine: often gets crumbly and fails.
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Old 09-17-2020, 01:04 AM   #11
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I recently did a headgasket my 230k+ B230FT. I torqued by feel AND I reused the headbolts. MEh
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Old 09-17-2020, 01:23 AM   #12
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To the OP... congrats. Keep the busted HG as a souvenir. Yank the old one out and put in a new one... replace the oil and coolant. onward and upward. Do take note for any misshapen pistons, especially near the edges. If it looks good, do it. The job is totally doable by any rookie mechanic... keep track of what wire goes where, ditto with the bolts. You could have it apart and running within a few hours. YMMV. If you need help, just ask, there's always people here to ask for advice and most likely someone that'd be more than happy to watch over your shoulder as you do it. Good luck.


EDIT... oh, and do a little searching around first with coolant hoses and such... it may not have been anything you did while driving... a burst heater hose (or heater core... my 5th blown hg... I noticed the coolant filling up the passenger floor) can also be the thing that set you back in disguise.... having the head off is a great time to replace the hose that goes from the water pump behind the block to the heater core.

Last edited by 740atl; 09-17-2020 at 01:29 AM..
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Old 09-17-2020, 08:57 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobxyz View Post
Once this pandemic !#@^$& is over, we'll need to get together and compare my rebuilt B21FT+LH2.4 AW71 wagon to your B21FT+MS sedan.

For machine shops, western engine supply in Denver does lots of business, but they probably don't know much about old Volvos. For surfacing a head, they'll be fine. You should call them and ask if there's a day/time during the week where they can surface it while you wait.

The 2nd shop that I used for my rebuild was AMS in Ft.Collins (run by Darin), and they do a big business in old classics, tractors, etc. Very competent and good to work with. The first 1st shop that I used, Peak Performance [sic] in Longmont, is fortunately no longer in business.
I'll absolutely check out WES for the head close enough for a weekend jot. Since its gonna be a while until I have all my ducks in a row, would you suggest getting block work done? Its been on my mind for a while and if its gonna come out of the car why not, right? Thanks for your help as always, I did just test negative for COVID this Monday so maybe once she's up and running we can have a wagon meet up

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZVOLV View Post
Invest in a good 1/2" breaker bar, 24mm deep impact socket, impact 14mm socket, 1/2" impact extension (maybe 8" long"), and buy a 3-4 foot pipe at the hardware store that slips over your 1/2" breaker bar handle. You may wanna pick up the crank holder tool too.

To break the crank bolt free and do the headbolts, you are gonna need that pipe.

And for the torque on the headbolts, I just go by feel. I do the first light pass, then a medium pass, and then turn em until I feel the right amount of resistance.
Funny enough, I didn't need to use a pipe or anything the first time I took the head off -- just my gut and a lot of patience. I'm not experienced enough to say that I can accurately feel torque by hand, so I'll just go by the greenbook numbers thanks for your advice!

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Originally Posted by 2turbotoys View Post
Buy a wideband so you don't do that again. How much boost on what turbo?

Don't bother with the dye stuff, just get it cut flat, unless you have money and time to throw away. replace the gasket, and fix whatever caused it.
Already got meself a wideband, I see 13's in boost. Don't quote me on this, but somewhere in the ballpark of 15-16 PSI on a t3 -- my boost gauge isnt terribly accurate (harbor freight special), but those are the numbers I see in boost.

I suspect that some of my hoses are brittle and cracking -- especially the ones that go to the heatercore through the firewall. I will inspect as soon as my day ends. Thanks for your advice!
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Old 09-17-2020, 09:02 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Cwazywazy View Post
Head gasket/seal set, straight edge the head and use feeler gauges to make sure it's flat enough, put it back together. Use a torque wrench. Good opportunity to do water pump, hoses, etc. Maybe turn down the boost a little.

https://www.fcpeuro.com/products/vol...-victor-270689
Cometic on order, gonna get elring for everything else -- I've been pleased with their products so far. Absolutely will do the water pump -- I've got a nice unit I've been meaning to drop in for a while now. Maybe I'll do the front seals as well, while everything's out of the car. Turn down the boost??????????? I thought boost only go up ):

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Originally Posted by Mr. V View Post
Change the timing belt and tensioner while you're at it, and maybe the front seals.

Inspect the wire bundle that wraps under the front of the engine: often gets crumbly and fails.
I changed all my belts (and timing tensioner) when I was putting her together initially. Front seals are a really good idea!
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Old 09-17-2020, 09:11 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by 740atl View Post
To the OP... congrats. Keep the busted HG as a souvenir. Yank the old one out and put in a new one... replace the oil and coolant. onward and upward. Do take note for any misshapen pistons, especially near the edges. If it looks good, do it. The job is totally doable by any rookie mechanic... keep track of what wire goes where, ditto with the bolts. You could have it apart and running within a few hours. YMMV. If you need help, just ask, there's always people here to ask for advice and most likely someone that'd be more than happy to watch over your shoulder as you do it. Good luck.


EDIT... oh, and do a little searching around first with coolant hoses and such... it may not have been anything you did while driving... a burst heater hose (or heater core... my 5th blown hg... I noticed the coolant filling up the passenger floor) can also be the thing that set you back in disguise.... having the head off is a great time to replace the hose that goes from the water pump behind the block to the heater core.
Thanks to your suggestion, I'm gonna get the hg framed a real work of art by your truly. I'll make note of the pistons, of course, and any other irregularities that I (hopefully) notice. This board has been such an invaluable resource -- I bought my 84 240 wagon (as my first car) a little over a year ago with nothing more than some basic mechanical knowledge. Now I feel confident enough that a blow hg doesn't seem that scary, just kinda expensive. I thin k if something like this happened last September I would've been in tears at the thought -- now I'm just excited to get back to work . I'll double check all my hoses, I suspect a few old and cracked ones, and I've been meaning to do the blower motor for a while now, so I'll check everything with the heater core when I'm under there. Thanks for your encouragement!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZVOLV View Post
I recently did a headgasket my 230k+ B230FT. I torqued by feel AND I reused the headbolts. MEh
Is it bad if I reuse the bolts this time around??
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Old 09-17-2020, 09:29 PM   #16
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Is it bad if I reuse the bolts this time around??
Depends on how many times they've been torqued before. If you have no idea it's cheap insurance to buy a new set. It's about $40... Not exactly a bank breaker.
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Old 09-18-2020, 12:51 AM   #17
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I think you can replace the head gasket without pulling the engine. If you have the original log exhaust manifold, you may need to unbolt the engine mounts to get enough clearance. Maybe someone else can comment here? Swapping to a 90+ manifold will give you a little more clearance and better flow.

I'm not sure I'd install a Cometic HG until you're sure your MS tune is good. A blown Elring is cheap compared to a visit from Kool Aid Man, e.g. this impressive example (and amazingly the pics are still intact): https://forums.turbobricks.com/showthread.php?t=233211, or google: Kool Aid Man site:turbobricks.com

If you're on a college student budget (i.e. more time than $$$), and you don't see keeping your Volvo for 5+ years, I wouldn't touch the block. If you really want to do a rebuild as a learning experience (it won't increase performance that much), I'd get a good salvage yard B230FT, rebuild it leisurely in your garage, then swap it in. If you're flush with $$$, you can rebuild a B21FT with new 2nd OS OverSize pistons at ~$120 a pop, plus bearings, seals, and a fair bit for machining.
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Old 09-19-2020, 01:36 AM   #18
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Turn down the boost??????????? I thought boost only go up ):
maybe you're just itching to change your username to makebrickgoboom ?

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Old 09-19-2020, 08:14 PM   #19
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Lol
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Old 09-20-2020, 03:18 PM   #20
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I think you can replace the head gasket without pulling the engine. If you have the original log exhaust manifold, you may need to unbolt the engine mounts to get enough clearance. Maybe someone else can comment here? Swapping to a 90+ manifold will give you a little more clearance and better flow.

I'm not sure I'd install a Cometic HG until you're sure your MS tune is good. A blown Elring is cheap compared to a visit from Kool Aid Man, e.g. this impressive example (and amazingly the pics are still intact): https://forums.turbobricks.com/showthread.php?t=233211, or google: Kool Aid Man site:turbobricks.com

If you're on a college student budget (i.e. more time than $$$), and you don't see keeping your Volvo for 5+ years, I wouldn't touch the block. If you really want to do a rebuild as a learning experience (it won't increase performance that much), I'd get a good salvage yard B230FT, rebuild it leisurely in your garage, then swap it in. If you're flush with $$$, you can rebuild a B21FT with new 2nd OS OverSize pistons at ~$120 a pop, plus bearings, seals, and a fair bit for machining.

Hooooooooolllyyy ****. I didn't know you could do something like that to a red block.... jesus. I think the one i put on order is only a .00 off the stock thickness (i spent a good 2 hours researching cometic sizes on the board the night i blew it up), but i'll reconsider. i'm not strapped for cash (yet, lol), and i honestly think i'll keep my wagon for as long as humanly possible. i'm in love with the thing (so much so my girlfriend calls it my mistress), so anything i do to it is an "investment" (not fiscally, but for more abstract and vague things like personal pride and sheer enjoyment). the head came off a little while ago (a day or 2?) and cylinders 2 & 3 have some pretty significant corrosion (fingernail catches), as well as a lip at the start of the combustion chamber (again, fingernail catches) which i'm confused by. there was nothing like that present in any cylinder when i put it together. Crosshatching is still visible, though, and for the most part the walls feel smooth and nice. no distortion or damage to the pistons from what i can tell. i will probably end up getting it bored out (possibly with some other mild work just for preventions sake), depending on what the guys say from the machine shops you recommended. I like the idea of finding a junkyard turbo block and doing a mild rebuild, seems like fun and it's always been something i've meant to do. i'm incompetent (among other things) when it comes to finding the goodies in salvage yards, however. some day i'll find something
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Old 09-20-2020, 03:19 PM   #21
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maybe you're just itching to change your username to makebrickgoboom ?

if it don't blow up i'm not doing something right
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