How to Replace a Head Gasket: Petros method

Here's some good repair guides for your Tercel :) Look here for help first!
User avatar
Petros
Highest Ranking Member
Posts: 11228
Joined: Sun Jan 28, 2007 6:31 pm
My tercel:: '84 Tercel4wd w/extensive mods
Location: Arlington WA USA

Re: How to Replace a Head Gasket: Petros method

Post by Petros » Tue Jun 16, 2015 5:41 pm

It must have been sitting for a long time after someone blew the head gasket and coolant sat in the cylinder for a long time, rusting away the cylinder walls. I have seen it before. You will want to soak that one real good before you try and turn the crank. for good measure, put oil in the other cylinders too. ATF is a good choice if you have any handy. Hopefully the pitting in the cylinder walls will not be too deep and can be honed out good enough without needing to overbore it. If it is out of tolerance after honing, you will have to overbore it and use over-sized pistons.

Good luck.
'87 Tercel 4wd SR5 (current engine swap project)
'84 Tercel 4wd (daily driver, with on going mods)
'92 Mazda MPV 4wd (wife's daily driver)
'85 Tercel 4wd DLX auto(daughter's daily driver)
'01 Honda Civic (other daughter's daily driver)

dglassplus
Newbie
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Mar 24, 2015 3:05 am
My tercel:: 1984

Re: How to Replace a Head Gasket: Petros method

Post by dglassplus » Tue Jun 16, 2015 6:17 pm

Ty. Is this pitting a killer as well.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

User avatar
Petros
Highest Ranking Member
Posts: 11228
Joined: Sun Jan 28, 2007 6:31 pm
My tercel:: '84 Tercel4wd w/extensive mods
Location: Arlington WA USA

Re: How to Replace a Head Gasket: Petros method

Post by Petros » Tue Jun 16, 2015 9:26 pm

that is not going to seal unless you take that down much further. Might be worth taking to a machine shop and have them take off 0.020", or enough to clean it up.

That kind of thing happens when someone removed a ground strap from the head. It is electrolysis, electrical transfer of metal. Each major engine and transmission component, block, head, bell housing, etc. should have its own ground strap go directly to a ground on the body. A lot of times if someone, even a mechanic, does engine survice and forgets to reinstall the strap, this is the results.
'87 Tercel 4wd SR5 (current engine swap project)
'84 Tercel 4wd (daily driver, with on going mods)
'92 Mazda MPV 4wd (wife's daily driver)
'85 Tercel 4wd DLX auto(daughter's daily driver)
'01 Honda Civic (other daughter's daily driver)

User avatar
4wdEconoBox
Top Notch Member
Posts: 461
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2015 6:56 pm
My tercel:: 1985 Toyota Tercel SR5 4WD
Location: Talladega, Alabama

Re: How to Replace a Head Gasket: Petros method

Post by 4wdEconoBox » Fri Jul 10, 2015 11:46 pm

I just measured all of my head bolts and all of them are the same size from what I can tell, or is the length almost unnoticeable? I also noticed that most of my head bolt washers weren't installed right, I'm wondering if my engine had been previously rebuilt, the only thing holding the oil pan on was a lot of silicon and a bolt was missing from my starter and a few other things didn't look stock...

User avatar
Petros
Highest Ranking Member
Posts: 11228
Joined: Sun Jan 28, 2007 6:31 pm
My tercel:: '84 Tercel4wd w/extensive mods
Location: Arlington WA USA

Re: How to Replace a Head Gasket: Petros method

Post by Petros » Mon Jul 13, 2015 4:47 pm

head bolts are all the same, and washers, both of hard steel and can be reused once cleaned. some newer cars head bolts are torque to yield and must be discarded after one use. I am happy to say that is not true on the 3a/4a engine, do not let any auto parts salesman tell you otherwise.
'87 Tercel 4wd SR5 (current engine swap project)
'84 Tercel 4wd (daily driver, with on going mods)
'92 Mazda MPV 4wd (wife's daily driver)
'85 Tercel 4wd DLX auto(daughter's daily driver)
'01 Honda Civic (other daughter's daily driver)

User avatar
lannvouivre
Top Notch Member
Posts: 387
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2015 7:18 pm
My tercel:: 2006 Pontiac Vibe
Location: Odessa, TX

Re: How to Replace a Head Gasket: Petros method

Post by lannvouivre » Fri Nov 20, 2015 7:36 pm

TTY bolts are a more modern thing. Something you can do is get one new bolt and measure the old ones in comparison to see if they have stretched. I don't know why TTY is the thing nowadays; I think it may be for when your head and block are both aluminium. ARP (automotive racing products) make high-quality reusable bolts for those applications. They cost about four or five times as much sometimes, but anyway, you can contact them and see if they'll make you some if they don't have the application you're looking for.
But...did you try hitting it with a hammer?

User avatar
irowiki
Highest Ranking Member
Posts: 3375
Joined: Tue Apr 02, 2013 10:02 am
Location: Farmington, NM

Re: How to Replace a Head Gasket: Petros method

Post by irowiki » Fri Nov 20, 2015 8:10 pm

My 3VZ (aluminum head, iron block) had TTY bolts!
Former Tercel Enthusiast (not a practical family car anymore but they still have a place in my heart)

Site administrator, if something is broken, PM me!

81 Coachmen RV, 70k miles
95 Camry Wagon, 153k miles
04 Camry Sedan, 250k miles

teranfirbt
Top Notch Member
Posts: 492
Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2009 12:58 am
My tercel:: '86 SR5 4WD, 5AFE, lifted rear, 195/70/14 tires
Location: Seattle, WA

Re: How to Replace a Head Gasket: Petros method

Post by teranfirbt » Sun Nov 22, 2015 5:29 pm

Torque to yield bolts are used by OEMs because it's a more consistent way to guarantee that the clamping force of the head bolts is the same on all bolts. A good torque wrench gives a bolt clamp force tolerance of ~15%, where yielding the bolt slightly is probably closer to 2%, as long as the yield strength of your bolt is consistent.

User avatar
dhally
Newbie
Posts: 19
Joined: Sat Nov 28, 2015 9:07 pm
My tercel:: 1987 Wagon 4wd
Location: Kennewick, WA

Air conditioner piping in the way

Post by dhally » Wed Jan 20, 2016 2:40 pm

I finally started my head gasket replacement, and there is an air conditioner pipe in right in front of the timing belt cover. Will I be able to access the timing belt and remove the head with this in the way?

I also posted photos of the plugs. No. 1 has some grungy stuff on it, the others look sorta OK. Compression is 177-178 psi except No. 1, which is about 175-176psi. It's looking favorable for a resurrection!

Image

No. 1-4 left to right
Image

Image

User avatar
Petros
Highest Ranking Member
Posts: 11228
Joined: Sun Jan 28, 2007 6:31 pm
My tercel:: '84 Tercel4wd w/extensive mods
Location: Arlington WA USA

Re: How to Replace a Head Gasket: Petros method

Post by Petros » Wed Jan 20, 2016 3:35 pm

it is a bit of a pain, but you can work around the a/c hoses and leave them in place.

you sure you have a compromised head gasket? that is good compression. Though that does not mean the head gasket is not seeping coolant into the combustion chamber. use a flashlight to look in the spark plug holes to see the top of the pistons (piston as to be at top to see it). if three are dark with carbon deposits, and one is clean, it means that one is "steam cleaned" by coolant leaking into it.
'87 Tercel 4wd SR5 (current engine swap project)
'84 Tercel 4wd (daily driver, with on going mods)
'92 Mazda MPV 4wd (wife's daily driver)
'85 Tercel 4wd DLX auto(daughter's daily driver)
'01 Honda Civic (other daughter's daily driver)

User avatar
dhally
Newbie
Posts: 19
Joined: Sat Nov 28, 2015 9:07 pm
My tercel:: 1987 Wagon 4wd
Location: Kennewick, WA

Re: How to Replace a Head Gasket: Petros method

Post by dhally » Wed Jan 20, 2016 4:40 pm

The PO stated it had a blown head gasket. The symptoms were a sudden severe loss of power and also diagnosis by a "mechanic" based on a sucking sound. The coolant was low when I drained it. The No. 1 spark plug isn't rusty but it does have some grungy deposits on it, No. 2 a bit as well.

I will see what I can see in the spark plug holes. I did manage to get the timing belt cover off, it looks like a pretty new belt.

User avatar
Petros
Highest Ranking Member
Posts: 11228
Joined: Sun Jan 28, 2007 6:31 pm
My tercel:: '84 Tercel4wd w/extensive mods
Location: Arlington WA USA

Re: How to Replace a Head Gasket: Petros method

Post by Petros » Wed Jan 20, 2016 5:24 pm

I have never seen a blow head gasket cause a "sucking sound", usually it will suck coolant into the combustion chamber so you get steam out the exhaust. there would be no extra sounds outside the combustion chamber.

It could be a blown head gasket, but with that high even compression across the cylinders, there is no way it lost power because of a blown head gasket. A noticable loss of power caused by the head gasket will certainly show up with a compression test. The engine will run fine, without noticeable loss of power, with a leaky head gasket, to loose power it has to be completely blown out so it would show up with a compression test. A number of other things can cause a loss of power.

If it were me I would verify the diagnosis my self before I pulled it apart. Typical symptoms of a blown head gasket are low compression in one or two (adjoining) cylinders, steam coming out the exhaust when it is running, with a corresponding loss of coolant out of the cooling system. coolant in the engine oil, often makes it look like muddy chocolate milk (a color cause by mixing of engine oil and coolant).

Sudden loss of power could be caused by plugged fuel filter, plugged up carb, sudden failure of an electrical component in the spark ignition system. Timing belt skipped teeth or fell off cam sproket. Running low on oil and seizing the crankshaft.

I would try and get it running by spraying starter fluid down the carb, if nothing, than check for spark on a spark plug wire, and than trace it back from there.

good luck.
'87 Tercel 4wd SR5 (current engine swap project)
'84 Tercel 4wd (daily driver, with on going mods)
'92 Mazda MPV 4wd (wife's daily driver)
'85 Tercel 4wd DLX auto(daughter's daily driver)
'01 Honda Civic (other daughter's daily driver)

User avatar
4wdEconoBox
Top Notch Member
Posts: 461
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2015 6:56 pm
My tercel:: 1985 Toyota Tercel SR5 4WD
Location: Talladega, Alabama

Re: How to Replace a Head Gasket: Petros method

Post by 4wdEconoBox » Wed Jan 20, 2016 8:00 pm

Yeah, I agree with Petros, those compression numbers seem really good. I was still driving mine with 75-100 psi on the cylinders and there was definitely a loss of power but I was still able to keep up with traffic... Valve seals could be leaking oil and making the plugs dirty or the plugs could possibly just be very old? Could be something relatively simple that needs looked at, maybe a few busted vacuum lines which would correlate to a "sucking sound"...

User avatar
lannvouivre
Top Notch Member
Posts: 387
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2015 7:18 pm
My tercel:: 2006 Pontiac Vibe
Location: Odessa, TX

Re: How to Replace a Head Gasket: Petros method

Post by lannvouivre » Wed Jan 20, 2016 10:59 pm

Could he be referring to a sucking sound when you listen through the dipstick tube, breather tube, or oil fill opening, while it's running? Maybe the mechanic meant something else?

If you're not having mysterious coolant loss, overheating issues, oil contamination, or bad compression numbers, your head gasket is probably fine. You can only have leak-free coolant loss and contamination issues if your head gasket is bad. Overheating issues and low compression can have other causes.

The only reason you'd have to do the head gasket right now is if you've got time now and won't in the future, and you think the PO was skimpy on the car-care.

If you need to get the lines further out of the way, you can remove the alternator and unbolt the compressor and let it hang low, let it wobble to-and-fro. Maybe with a little string or wire holding some of the weight so you don't hurt the lines.
But...did you try hitting it with a hammer?

mtmtntop
Newbie
Posts: 17
Joined: Sun Dec 28, 2008 10:41 am
My tercel:: 85 4wd wagon

Re: How to Replace a Head Gasket: Petros method

Post by mtmtntop » Tue Apr 17, 2018 9:21 pm

i've done alot of head gaskets, owned 3 tercels and still learned alot in this incredibly well written post. thanks for all the time you spent on the details. You could have been the co author of zen and the art... i did see you were a motorcycle mechanic...

Post Reply