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Thread: Ok.. It's head gasket time!

  1. #1
    Senior Member Jeff K's Avatar
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    Ok.. It's head gasket time!

    Ok, I recently posted about a cooling issue. I bought a tester and there is exhaust gas in the coolant. Head gasket time! I'm taking it to an engine shop next week for a verification. My engine has 70K miles.

    My restoration replaced/refurbished pretty much everything in the fuel and cooling system.
    The car was running perfectly until this happened. Cold start, warm start, idle etc. I felt it was 100% reliable.

    I found this quide about it
    http://www.dmcnews.com/Techsection/c...vereplace.html

    Assuming this is correct.. some of my options are.

    1) Replace it, call it a day.
    2) Replace it, send the heads out to be reconditioned. (good shop near me other people on this board recommend) about 300 I think.
    3) Replace it, get the hi-performance cams and get the heads reconditioned. (Which will also mean new exhaust... 2K )
    4) Find a 3.0L 1990-1991 PRV and get EFI. (I've read a ton about this.. I know it's not a plug and play by any means.)

    Then, it's the "while in there syndrome"

    Do I do anything to the bottom end too?

    I would like more HP of course, but it kills me to put so much money in my wheesy PRV.

    Heck, a crate engine from summit racing is cheaper then tricking out my old tired PRV. Of course I do not have anywhere near the skill to fabricate like Nicholas did with his LS1 swap.

    Suggestions from the Gurus?

    Thanks
    Jeff
    Q: How do you make a small fortune restoring a DeLorean?
    A: Start out with a large fortune!

    Vin 16245 (83, 5sp Blk) aka Stinky

  2. #2
    Senior Member Josh's Avatar
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    Interested to see the responses. I would say a combination of #1 and #4. I was looking over the wiring last night and it isn't going to be too tricky, building a wiring diagram currently.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Jeff K's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Josh View Post
    Interested to see the responses. I would say a combination of #1 and #4. I was looking over the wiring last night and it isn't going to be too tricky, building a wiring diagram currently.
    Hey Josh. If this was year from now, I'd probably be following your guide (that is yet to be made). I'm leaning toward your idea myself. Fix it and swap it later. But.. I'm thinking if the swap might overwhelm me. I'm having a friend help.. he has many years experience. But then again, cams and the exhaust can probably be done in two weekends.. get 200hp and it back on the road soon.

    Also, I guess you will need a better exhaust for the 3.0 swap too right? Would this be a DPI Spec 1 exhaust application? What do you plan on using?
    Q: How do you make a small fortune restoring a DeLorean?
    A: Start out with a large fortune!

    Vin 16245 (83, 5sp Blk) aka Stinky

  4. #4
    Senior Member Josh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff K View Post
    Hey Josh. If this was year from now, I'd probably be following your guide (that is yet to be made). I'm leaning toward your idea myself. Fix it and swap it later. But.. I'm thinking if the swap might overwhelm me. I'm having a friend help.. he has many years experience. But then again, cams and the exhaust can probably be done in two weekends.. get 200hp and it back on the road soon.

    Also, I guess you will need a better exhaust for the 3.0 swap too right? Would this be a DPI Spec 1 exhaust application? What do you plan on using?
    There will be a guide. Just no word on when. My aim is to lay it all out (comprehensive), so it will be as underwhelming as possible.

    You are exactly right, cams and exhaust (to compliment your new head gaskets) would all be installed by turning some wrenches. I noted you wanted to move away from K Jet so that is why you were thinking of going this route.

    Any exhaust will bolt up that fits the original PRV in the Delorean. i plan to go F/I down the road so I am not going to be super picky with the exhaust, just something that is not stock or Special T. I have gotten most of my parts from DPI and would continue to buy from them for my exhaust. However my budget is not allowing for $2000 to be spent on exhaust at this time. Currently looking for a used setup. But that is off topic to this thread.

  5. #5
    Delorean Guru
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    It's all about the money. Your budget will determine your options. Doing the heads is the minimal option. From there it gets to better cams, better exhaust, Stage II engine, and on and on. My advice is to just get the heads cleaned up and replace the head gaskets. For the additional money you can spend you do not get all that much in improvement. That being said the Stage II is very nice! Doing the minimum you can spend under $1000 if it is all your labor, just gaskets, and grinding the heads flat with a clean-up valve job.
    David Teitelbaum

  6. #6
    aka RacerX Ryan S.'s Avatar
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    Jeff
    mannnnnn... I am so sorry to hear that it's the head gasket. Makes me sick.

    David,
    What's a typical labor hours or cost for a basic head gasket work? PO replaced mine at 16k ml. What is a typical life expectancy of head gasket and what is primary reason or cause for such failure?

  7. #7
    Current custodian of 2109 Ozzie's Avatar
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    Not a guru, but I did this job by myself, in my garage - a lot of parts come out, but it wan't really too difficult of a job.
    Doing it yourself, it wasn't really an expensive job at all, as all you really need are new gaskets (head, valve covers, exhaust, intake) - IF that's all you do (or discover that you need).

    Depending on service history, this would be a good time to:
    Change plugs
    Change wires
    Check fuel injectors
    Replace water pump
    Exhaust upgrade
    VOD clean up/inspection
    Cam upgrade (most tempting to do, if you can swing the cost)
    Clean nearby grounds.
    Valve Lash check/adjust.
    ..and see below

    The things that were extra that I chose to do were:
    1) I took my heads to get inspected, and they found them a little warped (not uncommon with aluminum heads - especially if motor ever overheated). If you've seen pics of my engine bay you'll understand that I didn't want to bolt back in dirty 30 year old heads, so for those two reason I had the shop flatten them out and they turned them back to me so clean, that my block blushed.
    2) Removed timing cover and had it sandblasted and then I painted it. Naturally a new crankshaft bushing went with this job.
    3) I cleaned the grime as much as possible off the engine block, and to frame areas previously not accessible with the exhaust on.
    4) I replaced my original starter with a new Dodge Monaco starter.
    5) Replaced my original engine mounts, with a fresh set.
    6) Not an option but, also replaced coolant and pressure tested it.

    If you're comfortable wrenching, have the tools, space, time, and are organized with parts removed, then go for it at a comfortable pace.
    Otherwise take it in, but I imagine the labor hours will be high.

    If you don't like standard PRV performance, well this is a good time to spend additional cash to correct that. Either with exhaust, or CAM, or even an engine swap, you can improve performance, the limitations typically aren't the options, so much as how much are you willing to spend to improve performance.

    Good luck. Whatever you choose to do, if you do it yourself, it is very rewarding when the last of many parts go back on, and the car starts up on a few cranks shortly afterwards.
    Last edited by Ozzie; 08-31-2013 at 11:03 PM.

  8. #8
    Member bunni's Avatar
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    About two years ago, I started this project. I opted for #3, with a lot of additional "while I'm in there..." Its been a learning experience more than anything as I have never done anything like this before. But I ended up completely disassembling my engine, took it to a shop to get cleaned and fully checked. I would have been okay with just a cam swap, but my engine leaked like there was no tomorrow, like needed a quart every week/every other week. I am finishing up the rebuild of it now, slowly, but now I have a deadline so we will see how that goes. I also went with replacing all of the chains and guides, there was an interesting scraping noise from my engine near the pulley side of it. With 100k+ on it, I decided that if I am going to own this car for 30 years, I might as well go for broke and make sure I don't have to do this again any time soon.

    I did it for the clean up and the learning basically. If the rest of your engine is in decent shape then there is no need to go beyond the heads. Ozzie made a nice list that I completely agree with, getting down to the heads gives you a good chance to check and replace a good amount of top end parts. I also completely tore down and cleaned the air intake assemblies.
    -Kris
    #4222

  9. #9
    Delorean Guru
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    Quote Originally Posted by Racerx View Post
    Jeff
    mannnnnn... I am so sorry to hear that it's the head gasket. Makes me sick.

    David,
    What's a typical labor hours or cost for a basic head gasket work? PO replaced mine at 16k ml. What is a typical life expectancy of head gasket and what is primary reason or cause for such failure?
    If you are just doing heads and have never done the job before and do not have all of the necessary tools it is difficult to estimate how long it will take you. It can be done in 8 hours but not 8 hours straight (approx 4 hours on and off per side). You must consider the time the machine shop will have the heads to grind them flat (and maybe clean up the valves). The big cost besides the labor is the machine work. The gaskets, although pricey, are not a big part of the cost. It is not a matter of the head gaskets wearing out. They will last until the motor gets overheated. I would consider replacing the water pump and all of the seals and gaskets and hoses under the intake manifold at least if they haven't been done in a long time.
    David Teitelbaum
    Last edited by David T; 09-05-2013 at 10:18 AM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
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    Location:  New Jersey

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    is it mandatory to grind the heads when replacing the head gaskets?

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