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Old 08-20-2015, 09:38 PM   #1
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New Guy With Head Gasket Questions

Hey guys. Just picked up a 2003 Focus SE to daily drive to keep the miles off my F-350. Car has 135k miles. Automatic. Very clean. I did some research, but I didn't research enough with the purchase of the SPI.

Anywho, upon a week of ownership, I notice it's losing coolant. Top it off and watch. After a long trip on the interstate, I pull off to get gas and pop the hood to check things. Coolant is low, there is a lot of pressure on the system when you crack the cap, and coolant is leaking from under the bottle. Ended up being cracked so I replace it.

I randomly have a misfire/ hard start on hot restarts. I have put 3,500 miles on it since buying it. Probably added about 1/2 gallon of coolant since replacing the leaking degas bottle. When I bought the car, I changed all the fluids, filters and plugs. Car runs great. Gets 33-34 MPGs. It serves it's role perfect.

I assume I have a blown head gasket. Lots of pressure on the system after freeway runs, ballooned coolant hoses, disappearing coolant and the coolant has a slight smell of combustion. It doesn't puke out of the cap. My questions are:

*What all needs replaced while I'm in that deep?
*Are OEM parts/gaskets the best to go back with or are there better aftermarket options?
*Can the machine shop fix the valve issue while the head is out for maching?
*Any do's or don'ts I need to be aware of?

Sorry for the long first post. Appreciate any input.


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Old 09-02-2015, 04:18 PM   #2
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Know if it has had its head replaced with one with the improved valve seats? If not, definitely replace that head (and timing set, water pump, oil pump, etc.) while you are at it. Read about dropped valve seats on SPI here on the site.
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Old 09-02-2015, 05:24 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LugNut View Post
Know if it has had its head replaced with one with the improved valve seats? If not, definitely replace that head (and timing set, water pump, oil pump, etc.) while you are at it. Read about dropped valve seats on SPI here on the site.
After a lot of reading, I'm just gonna replace the head. Where is the best place to get a remanned head?
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Old 09-02-2015, 05:29 PM   #4
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Best? IDK. Cheap(-est?):

FORD / LINCOLN / MERCURY HEAD

Make sure you read carefully the casting number off your current head before ordering the replacement -- there are differences in the SPI's heads.

And to read my thread on replacing the head. :-)
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Old 09-02-2015, 05:37 PM   #5
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If you need help with the rebuild PM me. I've done this job a bunch and know every bolt...
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Old 09-02-2015, 05:44 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LugNut View Post
Best? IDK. Cheap(-est?):

FORD / LINCOLN / MERCURY HEAD

Make sure you read carefully the casting number off your current head before ordering the replacement -- there are differences in the SPI's heads.

And to read my thread on replacing the head. :-)
I've read it and watched a few YouTube videos. Looks easy. I do Power Stroke diesel work on the side. I should be good.

I was wanting to order the head and have all the parts sitting on G and waiting on O, but I guess I'll rip it apart before ordering the head.

Reason I asked the best place to get a head was because eBay and the interwebs have complete kits with head and all gaskets. Want it done right so I'm willing to buy the proper parts. That comes from the 6.0 Power Stroke world. Too many junk aftermarket parts burning people.
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Old 09-02-2015, 05:45 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Uberschprung View Post
If you need help with the rebuild PM me. I've done this job a bunch and know every bolt...
Thanks for the offer.
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Old 09-03-2015, 03:07 AM   #8
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"Heads Only" has been fine for many, some had problems with fitment - remanufactured & not all perfect.
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Old 09-05-2015, 10:31 PM   #9
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Alright guys. Wife drove it today and when arriving at destination, it vented out of the cap. It's parked till I can find time to fix it.

I would like to get a part's list going. Feel free to throw in suggestions on anything you feel should be replaced. So far, I have this:

*Remanned head
*Head gasket from Ford with new head bolts
*Water pump and thermostat
*Timing belt
*All associated gaskets

Feel free to add to the list. Thanks guys.
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Old 09-05-2015, 11:06 PM   #10
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I would just get the Felpro head gasket kit...its includes everything you need and more...most likely cheaper too. I've never had a problem with the felpro ro HG.
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