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Old 02-17-2016, 08:34 PM   #1
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SPI head gasket - replace or rebuild?

Hello there. I'm new to the Focus, worked on the sister in laws, but decided to pick up a driver for myself. Save the mileage on the PSD.

It's a 2003 with an SPI motor that was overheated and has a bad head gasket. I was planning getting a used motor for it, however the price of these engines are WAY higher than I thought they would be.

I haven't pulled it all the way off to see if the head is good yet, but will this weekend.

It has 140k on it. Car is in real good shape. Question is, are these motors good enough that I should try just a head gasket? Or should I rebuild the entire thing?

Thanks for your input.


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Old 02-17-2016, 08:47 PM   #2
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I'll move this to the SPI performance section where you can find more info. on repair/rebuild of these.

There's a potential valve seat drop issue that makes repair/replacement of the head for prevention an idea to consider if the head has to come off. After an overheat the possibility is larger, and the head is likely to need decking anyways, two more reasons to go a bit further while it's apart.

Remember new head bolts for reassembly in your planning.

This is the reason few are in the junkyards as good engines, some last indefinitely but many see the problem anywhere between 70 & 150k miles.
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Old 02-17-2016, 09:14 PM   #3
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Thanks. I definitely know about the valve seat issue. I may just get a new head anyway.


How long do the lower ends last usually? I'm tempted to install a new gasket, and run it.
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Old 02-17-2016, 09:33 PM   #4
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As long as they haven't rapped a piston on a valve seat they last well.
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Old 02-17-2016, 10:09 PM   #5
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Rebuild the engine yourself is admirable and the way to go if you have the time, talent and patience. I wanted to stop by and comment that rebuilt's are available at decent prices (with core exchange) and some people have even done conversions to the Zetec engine.

Not trying to talk you out of doing the rebuild yourself; only reminding you of the obvious options.

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Old 02-17-2016, 10:32 PM   #6
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Rebuilding the engine is pretty easy for me. I just want to be cost effective, and buying a reman head may push the price up.


Looking at the prices of the DOHC Zetec engines, looks like they are less than half of the price of the SPI, and have much lower miles on the engines available. I'll look into the Zetec swap.

Thanks!
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Old 02-17-2016, 11:08 PM   #7
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Local head work availability is another option, vs. buying a rebuilt/new type.

Zetec is a useful option, more work in the "extras" than in the swap itself for complexity.
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Old 02-20-2016, 06:20 PM   #8
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Looks like it's had a head put on it, or at least repaired. Is there a way to tell if the seats have been upgraded?

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Old 03-02-2016, 12:47 AM   #9
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Pulled the head, cam was hard to get out. Also, it had a previous valve seat drop, and the combustion chamber on the head was very banged up. That, along with wrong bolts everywhere, and sealant used in place of a couple gaskets, I decided to just order a head from Headsonly. Very good customer service.

Almost have it back together, hope this thing runs. :D
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