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post #1 of (permalink) Old 12-21-2002, 10:40 AM Thread Starter
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I need a head gasket!!!

I have a problem with my radiator blowing the seal between the tanks and the core. I have asked around and most likely my problem is the head gasket is starting to go. I changed the cap and thermostat so that isnt the problem. I am going to bring it to the shop so they can test to see if it is the head gasket but I am pretty sure it is.

Anyone ever done a head gasket on a 4.0L I have a 98 Wrangler with only 43,000 miles on it. I am not impressed that the head gasket is gone but i guess things happen. I have heard that shops charge upwards of $1000 to change a head gasket so I am going to do it myself. I dont have that kind of money to put labor. Any tricks or things I need to look out for? I am going to buy all new head bolts gasket and other stuff that I need.

I was also wondering what performace mods I could do while I had things apart... I was thinking maybe a header or something to get a little more flow. I am not looking to do anything radical or expensive.

Thanks for you help!

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post #2 of (permalink) Old 12-21-2002, 12:31 PM
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Re: I need a head gasket!!!

Personal Advice: Buy the best gasket you can. I prefer Fel-Pro, they seel really good stuff and I use all Fel-Pro throughout my Shelby. Make sure the surface of the head and the block are very clean, none of the old gasket left over. Don't forget to make sure you have the right tightening patter for the 4.0L head, because if the gasket doesn't crush in the right sequence it could cause it to fail again. Just my 2 cents.

Good Luck!
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 12-21-2002, 02:18 PM
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Re: I need a head gasket!!!

I've got to protest your tearing right into a head gasket replacement JUST because the radiator tank keeps seperating.

This is not a "normal" symptom. You have a radiator cap (if you're the guy I'm thinking of) that apparently, by your posts, has not relieved ANY pressure. The tank seam is the only thing that goes. The cap is supposed to be the weak link in the system. I would thoroughly eliminate the rad as the source of your problem before undertaking a head gasket as the probable cause of this anomoly.


Go buy a lower pressure cap. Install it. If the seam still leaks ....ditch the rad and go get a metal one from one of the various radiator outlets that will give you an easy way for a whole lot less labor than you are about to undertake on the asumption that the head gasket is bad.

The exact same thing happened to me with my Caravan's rad. The upper tank started leaking at the upper seam. NO QUESTION ...I went and ordered a NEW rad. $129 delivered ( for a TJ they run between $198-229 depending on two core or three core).

End of problem.

What I would do if I had the tester (the shop radiator testing kit) is to warm the engine with the tester on and SEE what pressure the tank starts to leak. If it didn't do it at idle you could then PUMP up the cooling system pressure with the tester pump. If you exceed the cap relief pressure ........I'd say that the tank seam is at fault and it is an aboslute radiator temp problem. That is, that the rad can handle pressure fine UNTIL the rad temp goes beyond a certain limit ...then the faulty gasket/seam fails. That is, although your engine temp doesn't change much (typically) ..the rad temp varies quite a bit. At high speed/high ambient temp the heat rejection rate for some systems is just enough to keep the engine within operating specs. That is, the "reserve" capacity of the system is depleted and the rad temp will be much closer to the engine temp

You could also find this product at some local "full service" parts store ...or order it direct from the distributor ..but they charge you a $10 service fee on top of the product cost plus the S&H ( I think that they're a**hol*s for doing it). This will tell you beyond any doubt if you need to replace the head gasket.

THIS IS NOT TO SAY that you don't have a head gasket problem ...and I'm sure that somewhere in the world of blown head gaskets that there has been a situation that is identical to yours ...but I would think that hitting this weeks PA POWERBALL has better odds given the typical use that you described on other posts (just driving around and not just shutting down after a 200 mph run on the Salt Flats).

I just don't want to see you doing all that labor for something that may not exist.

Will someone else PLEASE pipe in here and support the thorough diagnosis avangel that I'm preaching? [img]images/graemlins/tongue.gif[/img]. Naturally I will accept the "well, you know I've seen this and that" and every other obscure nook and cranny (I once saw BIGFOOT = not the truck) type thing ...but what does MOST peoples common sense tell them?
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 12-24-2002, 05:45 PM Thread Starter
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Re: I need a head gasket!!!


Thanks for your response...

I am leaning towards the head gasket because I have had this seal replaced twice, replaced the thermostat and replaced the cap... the top seal keeps blowing out of the tank. I am going to a radiator shop and have it tested before I go ripping into the engine but I was just doing a little research on doing a head gasket in case it has it be done.


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