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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
2000 Ford Taurus, 3.0 L V-6, OHV, Flex Fuel -- 90k miles

I did a compression test and cyl # 2 is really low. Most were in the 160-165 range, and cyl #2 is only 90. Cyl 1 and 3 are 140, so lower than the 160 on other bank, but still acceptable. Guidelines say should be min. 100, so cyl #2 definitely fails. Did the compression test dry and wet, and a few drops of oil in cyl makes no difference. So I can rule out piston rings and bottom end. It's a top end problem.

I am inclined to skip the leak down test. That will just confirm where in the cylinder head the leak is, and if I've already ruled out a piston ring, what's the point? If leak is not down, it's up; not bottom end, but top end. All machine shops can do a pressure test to check for cracks and leaks, and replace valve guides or seats as necessary. In other words, they'll do a leak down test, or its equivalent, on the cylinder head as standard routine with a valve job.

This is my first valve job, but I am confident enough I can do the job.

Machine shops say that exhaust valves on this engine are pretty well known for going out, it's a common problem. They do it all the time.

So, I will tear off the cylinder heads myself and take them in to a machine shop for a valve job. Cost is $150 for the pair, plus any parts if needed such as guides and seats. They will clean, pressure test, check for cracks and leaks and warpage, resurface if needed ($35 per head) and clean all valves to make sure they seat properly.

When I take the cylinder heads off, I know I must replace head gaskets and head bolts (TTY). Anything else I should do when I do this work? For example, I know when you do bottom end work, it is considered good practice to just replace the oil pump when you're in there. Any similar "good practice" things for a valve job? I am looking to just keep it stock, no need to do any mods or performance enhancing things. I just want the car to run right and last a long time.

Do I need to replace valve cover gaskets? Those appear to be like tranny pan gaskets, reusable if not cracked or broken. I've had the upper intake manifold off before and not replaced gasket. Other than head gaskets, are all other gaskets OK to reuse if in good shape? (upper intake manifold, lower intake manifold, exhaust manifold, valve covers...)

I will place a rag over cylinders so nothing falls in. I have read that some suggest a coating of grease on cylinder walls and pistons to avoid rust, which can start quick. I plan on Day 1, remove heads. Day 2 (and maybe 3) machine shop, and Day 3, put it all back together. For a 3 or 4 day deal, do I need to put any grease in cylinders? And if so, what kind of grease?

Thanks for the help.

Mark C in Los Angeles
 

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Just lightly coat the walls and pistons with engine oil, that will keep from rusting. Replace all the gaskets, they're pretty cheap, and are a real pain to replace later when they start leaking. The exhaust manifold gaskets have to be replaced if you ever take off a exhaust manifold, as it will not seal as tight the second time it's installed since it's a metal gasket. Don't forget to buy new o-ring gaskets for the injectors, you should never reuse those after pulling the fuel rails off.
 

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Are you certain it needs a valve job? Sometimes carbon will build up on the valve, causing it not to close properly. Have you tried doing a Sea Foam fog? I would fog it really good, then check the readings again, before you rebuild the heads.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Definitely needs a valve job. Already took it apart and took heads to machine shop. Burned out exhaust valve on cyl #2. They will pressure test, etc. to check it all out completely. Maybe some valve seats or other things.

A bolt on the exhaust header broke. How to fix? On left side of engine, near grill, manifold bolts into cylinder head came out fine, but there are two bolts from exhaust manifold to exhaust header. One came off, one broke off. Looks like a real PITA to fix. The bolt has no hex head, it looks like it is in the coupler/yoke. Have not tried to remove yet. Hammer or vice grips may do it...but web forums suggest a torch and lots of heat and good luck. Is that the deal?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Machine shop also told me both head gaskets were going and leaking...one was leaking coolant out a little, the other was about to. So, hopefully this valve job will fix it up good.

Machine shop said freeze plugs in heads looked new, so maybe the car has had a valve job before. It's a 2000, and I've only owned it for 2 1/2 years, so who knows what the previous owner did? If it did get a valve job before, maybe they did a crappy job of it, and that's why I need it again. Hope this one takes. Quality of work is part of it, so maybe the previous job was low quality.
 

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Cake monster
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Definitely needs a valve job. Already took it apart and took heads to machine shop. Burned out exhaust valve on cyl #2. They will pressure test, etc. to check it all out completely. Maybe some valve seats or other things.

A bolt on the exhaust header broke. How to fix? On left side of engine, near grill, manifold bolts into cylinder head came out fine, but there are two bolts from exhaust manifold to exhaust header. One came off, one broke off. Looks like a real PITA to fix. The bolt has no hex head, it looks like it is in the coupler/yoke. Have not tried to remove yet. Hammer or vice grips may do it...but web forums suggest a torch and lots of heat and good luck. Is that the deal?
Did the bolt break on the flange area or head? If it's the flange bolt, it shouldn't be too hard to drill out. Bolts stuck in the head should be dealt with by a machine shop. It's pretty common for them to break. I broke an exhaust flange bolt on the manifold side last summer, I just drilled it out and used a new set of bolts. You could try and remove it with heat.

Sounds like the motor was in lousy shape.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Flange bolt. Drill out, eh?

The oil pan gasket was just starting to leak, so now is an excellent time to replace it. Have to remove the Y-tube exhaust anyway, and it's already mostly off.

I guess I will just remove the Y-tube (which is really the exhaust header with cats) to replace the oil pan gasket today. While off, I'll see if I can remove the flange bolt by drilling or something. Good time to do this, as the heads are at the machine shop for a few days anyway.

Getting new bolts ought to be fun. Can't seem to find them at Autozone or O'Reilly. Might be a Ford dealer thing...
 

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Flange bolt. Drill out, eh?

The oil pan gasket was just starting to leak, so now is an excellent time to replace it. Have to remove the Y-tube exhaust anyway, and it's already mostly off.

I guess I will just remove the Y-tube (which is really the exhaust header with cats) to replace the oil pan gasket today. While off, I'll see if I can remove the flange bolt by drilling or something. Good time to do this, as the heads are at the machine shop for a few days anyway.

Getting new bolts ought to be fun. Can't seem to find them at Autozone or O'Reilly. Might be a Ford dealer thing...
If you want to be cheap, go to the hardware store and buy them there. That's what I did.



Drilled out, painted and new bolts installed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
OK, I bolted it all together again and started it up. It started! But...it runs like crap. Rough idle. Put it in gear and it stalls the engine.

Machine shop said air gets into the hydraulic lifters, and it's good to start the engine, let it run a minute or so, then shut if off for 20 minutes or so. Then repeat, maybe 2-3 times. This works the air out of the lifters and lets oil in.

I did that a few times, now I'm letting it sit overnight. Would air in the lifters make it run rough?

On a side note, something that may contribute to the problem. My fuel injectors have electronic connectors. I did not remove the fuel rail, just left them on the lower intake manifold. I had to disconnect the electrical plug ins though. The electronic connectors look like they used to have little clips to hold them in. They don't any more. Maybe they got old and broke off, maybe the previous owner broke them off. Maybe they don't come with connector clips????

If they do come with clips and mine are missing, that could be part of the problem. When I wiggle around the connector on the left side (front near grill) of the engine, the idle jumps around. Maybe there is not a good connection. Cannot reach the back ones on right side of engine very well, they are buried under the upper intake manifold.

When I had UIM off, I played with the idea of putting some zip-ties on the fuel injector connectors to hold them in. It's not shaped well for that, so my experiment failed.

The previous owner did a valve job, too....found that out when I did this valve job. Second valve job with only 90k miles! Machine shop said this could happen if the engine is running hot/lean. If the fuel injectors are not getting enough power to run correctly, the engine could run lean, which could lead to this problem. Or maybe it's unrelated.

So...do the fuel injector connectors come with clips to hold them on? If so, mine are missing. Suggestion for a fix?

Thanks
Mark
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Definitely needed a valve job. One burned out exhaust valve, one new valve seat, new seals, new guides, resurface for a little warpage, and one crack was repaired. Both head gaskets were blown; one was leaking coolant out of the engine, the other was leaking oil into cyl #2, which is why I was getting oil on the spark plug. Oil and coolant never did mix, but both were leaking.

Glad I did a valve job, it needed it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I realize it could be a vacuum leak or a manifold leak. Tomorrow I will double check all vacuum hoses and make sure all bolts are tight. Hopefully that's the easy solution that will fix it!
 

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Mark C,
1) What made you do the compression test? Did you have problems?
2) I heard lean engine runs hot before. Do you understand why? I still cannot figure it out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I did the compression test because of misfire on cyl 2 and a little oil on that spark plug. Rough idle. I started with a vacuum test, which said low compression, possibly sticky valve, confirm with a compression test. So I did and that led to valve job.

Why lean and hot are related I don't know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Started last night and ran rough. This morning, would not start. Checked all vacuum hoses and bolts for tightness. All OK.

Got a fuel pressure gauge and it checked out fine. When I connected the Schraeder valve, some gas came out. Then it started. Perhaps an air bubble in the fuel rail?

It started, but still rough. But, the check engine light was NOT on.

So, I took it for a drive. Felt like a loss of power, but ran OK. During the short drive (25 minutes round trip, including freeway) the check engine light came on and blinked. Turned the car off, and now check engine light is solid on.

Ran codes, and this is what came up:

P0301 & P0302, misfire on cyl 1 & 2
P0136, O2 circuit (Bank 1, Sensor 2)
P1131, HO2S 11 indicates lean

OK...what could cause this after a valve job? Oxygen sensor on the Y-Pipe maybe needs tightening and double check electrical connection. Otherwise, I am at a loss.

One theory...if the machine shop resurfaced the heads, that means the valve train is a little closer to the engine block. Should only be thousands of an inch. Also, this is the 2nd valve job, as the original owners did one, too. So maybe a few more thousands of an inch. But could that be enough to keep the valves in an "always open" position? I have heard of shims for the rocker arms, but since the Vulcan has hydraulic valve lifters that are not adjustable, I thought they would not be necessary.

If I need rocker arm shims, how can I test or verify that? If I need shims, how thick should they be?

I have not done a compression test after the valve job. Is that my next task?

I just did a valve job. I hoped I would bolt it all together and it would purr like a kitten. But now I have more problems. When will this repair job ever end? This Taurus has been a true headache.

Mark
 

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When I rebuilt my Vulcan this fall I got it all back together and it would not start at all, Turned out to be bad gas from the car sitting for a few months during the rebuild. A trip to the gas station with a 6 gallon gas can solved my problem. Yours could be bad gas as well depending on how long the car sat during the repair.
 

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02 code is probably in relation to the lean condition & misfires. Check the 02 plugs just in case, but there shouldn't be an issue at 90k. If you haven't gotten the fuel injectors electrical issues sorted out yet; yes they came with clips and yes you might want them. Try giving them dielectric grease for a better connection, and see if things improve.

Also, the hydraulic lifters are self-adjusting for lash. Depending on how much was taken off the heads for resurface, you shouldn't have problems with stuck open valves. I had 0.030" taken off mine, and I had no valvetrain issues after.

Silly question, but you put new spark plugs in, right? If so, what kind?
 
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