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Head gasket blown 2500 miles after complete rebuild #843407 10/24/07 12:47 PM
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 60
Bolosh Offline OP
Getting the Wheeling Fever
This is on my '89 4x4, 22RE.

2500 miles ago the motor was rebuilt, both top and bottom. Cylinders bored to 40 over, crank 10 under, new pistons, rings, bearings, valve springs/seats, EB 268 Cam, timing chain kit, head bolts, and full gasket set.

A couple weeks ago, the radiator started boiling over and puking coolant into the res. overflowing it. Was also exibiting the crazy rhythmic idling and typical behavior I've read about on the board concerning cooling system issues. The radiator was old, though I'm not sure how old, but I started by replacing it as I'm not sure of its history. Put a new radiator, cap, and thermostat (also drilled the thermostat this time), even though the thermostat was replaced when the engine was rebuilt along with all the hoses.

The truck was running better then, but I could hear it pushing air out of the radiator, and sometimes made a humming sound almost like a tea kettle. I had been fearing a blown head gasket all along due to the symptoms, but wanted to eliminate the easy things first. A pressure check on the radiator showed some increase in pressure when reving - more evidence of a blown hg. In the past couple days, its been harder to start after being off for 8 or more hours and I started seeing/smelling white-ish smoke out the exhaust. Also runs on less than 4 cylinders for about 30 seconds or so. Seems the coolant is getting into one or more cylinder and fouling the plug(s) causing the hard starts. After it burns off the truck runs good again.

My stupid a$$ used an aftermarket HG during the rebuild, which came with the full gasket kit I got off Ebay (only thing I DIDN'T get from EB <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/angry.gif" alt="" /> ) I can only assume the HG just wasn't up to spec, as the head and block were inspected/machined by reputable shops.

This time around I've picked up an OE Toyota HG.My question is whether or not it is ok to reuse the head bolts that were new when installed 2500 miles ago? I very specifically followed the factory manual procedure on torquing down the head bolts during reassembly so I don't think that was a contributing factor of the failure, but is it a bad idea to use those bolts again? What else should I pick up for the job this time around?

TIA for your comments and suggestions, it just sucks to be ripping into the motor again so soon <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif" alt="" />

From the Off-Road World
Re: Head gasket blown 2500 miles after complete rebuild [Re: Bolosh] #843408 10/24/07 02:53 PM
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,298
TexJeff87 Offline
Body Damage is Cool
Just out of curiosity, did you re-torque the bolts after a test run?

In my experience, surfacing the head (which raised the compression) in conjunction with a failure to re-torque the bolts resulted in the same issue you have. The second time, I bought a head from EB. And re-torqued. That was 40K ago...

If Mad Max had a 4runner...
Re: Head gasket blown 2500 miles after complete rebuild [Re: TexJeff87] #843409 10/24/07 03:00 PM
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 60
Bolosh Offline OP
Getting the Wheeling Fever
I can't remember now if I did or not... I had some problems getting it running right at first and did a lot of troubleshooting and whatnot. I know I went back in and adjusted the valves, but I cannot remember if I retorqued the head bolts while I was in there.

Thanks though, that's a good thought and something to keep in mind this time around.

Re: Head gasket blown 2500 miles after complete rebuild [Re: Bolosh] #843410 10/24/07 07:43 PM
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 658
wsquaredodie Offline
Rock Warrior
You should redo the bolt torque after first full warm up of the motor plus 20 minutes or so. Then do it again within the next 500 miles or so. PITA but is necessary. If you run it hard , do it at 100 miles or so. You need to counter expansion and contraction of aluminum components which are more severe than with cast iron...Also, many torque wrenches are not accurate. If you have a buddy or two, it would be good to see if your wrenches read the same. I have a click type wrench that is off by about 12% low..Had it calibrated at work by a calibration shop.

Re: Head gasket blown 2500 miles after complete rebuild [Re: wsquaredodie] #843411 10/24/07 10:15 PM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 669
dcg9381 Offline
Rock Warrior
I feel your pain.. I did the same thing with less than 1k miles on the motor - more of a tuning issue than a HG problem, but I did pop the gasket on the rear 2 cylinders.

I used ARP hardware, but you do have to retorque. In fact, after 500 miles, I'd retorque almost everything. The intake will start to get looser as the gasket compresses, the same thing on the header...


1988 4Runner
22RTE core, turbocharged, megasquirted...
Re: Head gasket blown 2500 miles after complete rebuild [Re: dcg9381] #843412 10/24/07 11:01 PM
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 392
1986xtracab Offline
have you done a compression test yet? if not do that before tearing into it.

1986 xtra-cab 22re
stock everything
1991 bed
Re: Head gasket blown 2500 miles after complete rebuild [Re: 1986xtracab] #843413 10/24/07 11:47 PM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 396
Ganoid Offline
You may want to check the thermostat housing on the timing cover to rule that out. Some times they will have significant wear and not be replaced in a rebuild only to fail down the road.

90 Xcab V6
3.0 Rebuilt/Balanced
P/P w/OS valves
Downey Hdrs,Jacobs Ign
5.29's,Tru Trac+Lockright
4"TG SAS+Rear Kit on 35's
(DOA Racing = $1200 lesson <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/angry.gif" alt="" />)
Re: Head gasket blown 2500 miles after complete rebuild [Re: Ganoid] #843414 10/25/07 01:28 AM
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 163
4x4runner Offline
To answer your question, no, you do not need to replace the head bolts.

Re: Head gasket blown 2500 miles after complete rebuild [Re: Bolosh] #843415 10/25/07 02:23 AM
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 77
yota4runna Offline
Getting the Wheeling Fever
Here's my time tested technique to make sure a head gasket stays fixed: First, to make sure the engine block surface is clean, I use the side of a 6" 80 grit bench grinding wheel [with the paper label removed], spraying the block surface with carb spray, and running the flat side of the grinding wheel over the surface. Keep the surface wet with the spray as you run the wheel over the entire surface. This takes off all the old gasket and leaves a clean surface. Next, run a tap all the way to the bottom of each hole in the block. Then, stick the straw of the can of carb cleaner into each hole, and spray liberally. Next, blast the holes with compressed air till they're clean and dry. Take all your head bolts and clean the threads with a wire wheel. You want to lube the threads of the head bolts with oil, but not so much that they hydraulic lock in the holes. I don't trust click-stop torque wrenches for accuracy, so I've always used the old-fashioned kind that bend and have a pointer. I bring the bolts up to torque spec in three steps, going around in the pattern in your manual. Using modern no-retorque headgaskets, I don't do a re-torque, but you can suit yourself.

Re: Head gasket blown 2500 miles after complete rebuild [Re: yota4runna] #843416 11/06/07 05:47 PM
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 60
Bolosh Offline OP
Getting the Wheeling Fever
Here's an update with some pics. I'd appreciate it if you guys could chime in with your opinions on the condition of the cylinder walls (pics are just of 2 & 3) as well as any other comments on the general condition of things as seen in the pics.

All pics can be seen here.

Keep in mind, this is just 2500 miles after a complete rebuild where the cylinders were bored to .040 over. Do these wear marks on the cylinder walls mean the cylinders are jacked?

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

TIA guys.

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