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Discussion Starter #1
2001 Mercury Sable Vulcan (pushrod "U") engine

I blew the head gasket, and I now need to do the job of replacing it. By a miracle, I managed to drive the car home. I was lucky. I have very little money.
I've replaced head gaskets successfully before, but then I had the luxury of spending whatever I needed. These jobs were on 1980s pickup trucks.
This time, my money is very limited.
How much of a risk is it to reuse the old head bolts?
This next question may cause some to really be critical, but can I avoid shaving the heads? I also don't have any transportation and no friends who will help. Getting the heads to a machine shop, paying them, etc., is a significant part of the job.
Finally, can anybody recommend an online instruction about the job? I can do it without any instructions, I suppose, but it may help to watch a video or something.
Any other advice is welcome.
 

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Everything you don't do increases the risk of failure. Rock Auto had close out bolts really cheap. I wouldn't risk the bolts because they are torque to yield. You torque to a certain angle of deflection not ft lbs. you can check heads with a good flat straight edge.
 

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Everything you don't do increases the risk of failure. Rock Auto had close out bolts really cheap. I wouldn't risk the bolts because they are torque to yield. You torque to a certain angle of deflection not ft lbs. you can check heads with a good flat straight edge.
I don't have time to order something from an online source. We need the car, and every day without it is a major problem.
I saw a Youtube video of a guy using sandpaper on blocks as a tool to work the heads. He checked them with a feeler gauge and a straight edge. I'm not sure if I have a good straight edge. I have a big carpenter's square, and I also have a small square (the kind that can hook into a belt). These aren't machine shop tools, but I suppose they would be better than nothing.
Have you done the heads on that Vulcan engine? Is there anything I should be concerned about?
 

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It looks like I'm going to have to re-use the old bolts. I don't have the money to get them. I'm lucky to be able to afford the gasket set.
 

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It looks like I'm going to have to re-use the old bolts. I don't have the money to get them. I'm lucky to be able to afford the gasket set.
Lots of bolts/nuts can be reused. BUT head bolts are not one of them. They have been stretched by the "torque to yield". The bolts will be longer and weaker.


-chart-
 

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If the engine wasn't overheated then maybe the heads will be straight enough to not leak. I do know someone posted on the forum about his recent head gasket repair failed and he reused the bolts. Not sure you can get a proper sealing torque by reusing the head bolts. Who knows it could work or you will have to redo the work, buy a new head gasket, bolts and not use the car for another week. Not sure if torque to yield bolts will snap during retighting when you reinstall them. They are tightened by angle of rotation after a certain initial lower torque is reached.



You also need lower intake manifold gasket set.


Rock Auto has head bolts for $8 a set plus shipping and you can get a head rebuild gasket set also cheaper than anything local for me. It will take a day or two to disassemble and clean everything for reassembly. Getting stuff by the holiday will be tough.
 

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I disagree and I have probably a half dozen engines running out there right now for years with reused headgaskets and reused headbolts.
We went through this in the V8 SHO group many times over the years. Try finding headbolts and headgaskets for a 3.4L V8 SHO engine.



TTY bolts = triple tighten them ( lots of steps, a little tight, a little tighter, pretty tight) to get all snug and close but none at torque spec yet.


Then torque in proper order to highest spec + 5 lbs. Then tighten the additional 1/2 turn or whatever your engine may have as the final turn after torque spec is achieved.


By going tq +5lbs you enter a new point of elasticity in the bolt.


Never had one fail. You mileage may vary.
 

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I disagree and I have probably a half dozen engines running out there right now for years with reused headgaskets and reused headbolts.
We went through this in the V8 SHO group many times over the years. Try finding headbolts and headgaskets for a 3.4L V8 SHO engine.
TTY bolts = triple tighten them ( lots of steps, a little tight, a little tighter, pretty tight) to get all snug and close but none at torque spec yet.
Then torque in proper order to highest spec + 5 lbs. Then tighten the additional 1/2 turn or whatever your engine may have as the final turn after torque spec is achieved.
By going tq +5lbs you enter a new point of elasticity in the bolt.
Never had one fail. You mileage may vary.
I'm certainly glad to read your post, but, then again, it's what I wanted to hear. I already bought the head gasket set ($79.61 at Auto Zone in Kansas City, KS). Auto Zone wants about $56 + TAX https://goo.gl/Z1Xc2i for 2 packs of the head bolts. That seems like a lot. The online sources want around $40. Rockauto wants about half that https://goo.gl/ZJq9ji . But I really can't wait for a shipment.
You would think Kansas City is industrial enough to have decent part availability locally, but it doesn't. At least, I never can find any part I need locally for cheap.
This time is a bit worse than my other occasions of repair. Frankly, I'm broker than usual. For one thing, I just today had to scrape up the money ("ransom" is a more correct term) to bail my dog out of the pound. She got a 10-day quarantine just for jumping up on a kid. There was no puncture, but Animal Control treated it like a dog bite. -- Yeah, I know. I'm off the subject, but to me it's related.
Anyway, at least now I have my dog home. The car is also home. I have the gasket kit. Things could be worse.
 

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You must be living in your car? If you can't afford a few bucks for head bolts, might as well stand on the highway ramp with a cardboard sign for $$. On YouTube fordtecmakuloco has a great video on taurus heads replacement.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
You must be living in your car? If you can't afford a few bucks for head bolts, might as well stand on the highway ramp with a cardboard sign for $$. On YouTube fordtecmakuloco has a great video on taurus heads replacement.
Anybody who can't understand being out of money is either pretending or has lived a really sheltered life.
The bolts locally are $60, and the only way I make money entails using a car. But enough of that.

Notice how wet it is.
(The pics don't display. I tried both dragging and dropping and using the img tag.)
The water is in the tube going to the intake by the butterfly valve. Maybe I'm not allowed to post pics yet.
 

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I prefer the list type of instructions rather than the video. You can't skim to an interesting part easily in a video, but you can if it's written, as it is in a manual.
This seems to be the best video:
And this list is OK.
I'm concerned about step 12 "If necessary, remove the Camshaft Position (CMP) sensor and housing." At this point, I don't even know where it is. I'm researching that now, but help if you can. https://goo.gl/cwrc9x . I should be able to figure out this one.
I'm at the point where I've removed the upper intake manifold, removed the idle pulley, removed the serpentine belt tightener, unbolted the fuel rail, getting ready to remove or put aside the big wiring harness.
I need to get some sleep.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Question, please answer: Am I going to run into a problem with the camshaft position sensor? Where is it on a Vulcan (Pushrod OHV
2 Valves per Cylinder) engine?

Step 12 implies the sensor may need to be removed.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Camshaft Position Sensor -- difficulity?

^+1. The cmp sensor sits atop/mounts to the cam sync which sits in the old distributor hole.
I believe I found the Camshaft Position Sensor. It's just to the rear of the thermostat housing on the driver's side of the engine top. I'm concerned it may be a problem. I figure I'll just be careful about not moving it. This guy https://youtu.be/kSKLc3equ4Q?t=1m22s warns about it.
So, is it a possible problem? Will I have any trouble with it accidentally moving? Is there anything I should be careful about?

I thank you guys for helping me with this. You guys must spend a lot of time working on vehicles.
 

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Question, please answer: Am I going to run into a problem with the camshaft position sensor? Where is it on a Vulcan (Pushrod OHV
2 Valves per Cylinder) engine?

Step 12 implies the sensor may need to be removed.


I think you can pull the lower intake without pulling the cam sync. May have to remove sensor. The sensor is under the large wiring harness on the driver side of the intake manifold.
 

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I believe I found the Camshaft Position Sensor. ...So, is it a possible problem? Will I have any trouble with it accidentally moving? Is there anything I should be careful about?

I thank you guys for helping me with this. You guys must spend a lot of time working on vehicles.
Grab a permanent marker, and mark its relationship to the intake manifold or some other fixed part, so you can put it back if it gets bumped. If you are going to remove anything, just remove the sensor attached to the top of the syncronizer.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Grab a permanent marker, and mark its relationship to the intake manifold or some other fixed part, so you can put it back if it gets bumped. If you are going to remove anything, just remove the sensor attached to the top of the syncronizer.
The sensor is on top of the synchronizer? And it can get bumped out of position?
I'm a bit scared. It looks like I have to be very careful when I get to this part, and I'm almost there, btw. I'll mark everything. It would be nice to have someone who has been in the same situation with the same engine to give some advice. I'm worried the thing is going to be spring-loaded or something, and when I loosen the attachment means, the whole thing is going to boing into my face and onto the messy floor. Then my dog will eat it maybe.
The video I linked to a bit earlier said a little alignment tool comes with a new camshaft position sensor. Do I need one of those things?
 
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