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I may not do a 3.8 project car, though the one that I've been watching I'm thinking of buying, fixing, and selling. My question is, will I need any special tools and would I have to pull the engine. I don't have an engine hoist or anything so if it takes more tools then I have, it won't be worth it to do. I think we're guessing the project would take about 3 days?

-Dan
 

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u can drop the subframe and unhook the wiring from the firewall and have car on jack stands and roll hole thing right out of under the car
 

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I just did my '93 3.8 head gaskets last week. About the only special tool is a good torque wrench that goes from 5 foot pounds to 75 foot pounds for the head bolts(new ones). If you don't do much wrench turning then a pair of torque wrenches, one inch pounds and one low foot pounds, would be good. Borrowed or rented of course. I didn't take the fuel rail apart I just folded it back wires and all. I twisted a 3/8 drive extention off on the head bolts so you mihgt want a 1/2 inche drive for those. I took the air box and the coolant recovery tank out for more room. Its a prety simple job just lots of little stuff. A digital camera is nice.
 

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Originally posted by tflander2003@Mar 30 2004, 07:04 PM
u can drop the subframe and unhook the wiring from the firewall and have car on jack stands and roll hole thing right out of under the car
you can do that.... if you like extra work.


Head gaskets are pretty easy. I don't have experience with the 3.8, but they are all basically the same. Somtimes there will be a bolt in a cramped space, like the rear exhaust manifolds, but thats about the hardest part. The enige does not need to come out. The heads are unbolted and removed and the new gasket is dropped in.... sounds simple right? Keeping track of all the nuts and bolts, collecting the coolant, and keeping everything clean on the installation are time consuming.

Following the instructions from Haynes/Chiltons/Ford Service CD make the job a straight forward task.
 
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Don't forget machine work too. Since the 3.8 has aluminum heads, you definitely want to have them checked for warpage. Most times with Aluminum heads, the shop just resurfaces them anyway. I just finished up another Vulcan head gasket job (no not mine), and I got the heads pressure tested for cracks and bad valves, cleaned and resurfaced for $130. Cheap insurance IMO.
 

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I did my 3.8L headgaskets myself. I didn't need to drop the engine. My best friend was a long pivoting socket extension. Also, keep track of all the bolts. I labeled ziploc bags and that worked perfectly. Having the heads cleaned and machined is also a good idea as well, especially if you don't want to run into any more headgasket problems. Also, DO NOT remove the exhaust manifolds in colder weather. It was about 60ºF when I removed mine, and the front manifold warped. I could not get it back on. I had to buy a new one for $80.

P.S. You might as well change the spark plugs while you're at it.
 
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