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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As it turns out, I have yet another problem. I am loosing a bit of coolant. It isn't leaking on the ground, and I have found clues that it is leaking into places it shouldn't. Research has indicated that the 2.9L V6 is prone to cracked heads. Sooo, I am guessing this is my problem. What the hell do I do now?
1) How can I tell which head it is
2) Where do I find a replacement head that isn't cracked?
3) Does anyone know what this might end up costing me???

I do not have the cash to put in a better motor. If I did, it would have a 5.0L in it. I need to work with what I have. ANY advice would be golden. Thanks!!
 

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You say it's not leaking on the ground. . .so that may rule out the most obvious (water pump, hoses, etc.) but not necessarily. When your coolant is at pressure, look at all the hose fittings and such for leaks. Generally a coolant leak will only really show when the engine is hot (and therefore the cooling system is under pressure). Of course when the engine is hot, it's harder to find the leak because the coolant evaporates quickly. Also make sure it's not your heater core (do the windows fog up when you turn the heater on?). Has your engine overheated? Do you get white smoke from the exhaust? How's your compression -- do you have a cylinder that's obviously low? It seems unlikely to me that you have cracked a head unless you're getting white smoke, you have overheated, or you have recently undone your head bolts without the engine being stone cold (a very easy way to warp 2.9 heads).

As far as pricing, I've found complete engines at junk yards for around $900. Gaskets and head bolts cost about $250 if you decide to do the job yourself -- and you still need to find heads.

Hope this helps.

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Steve Dillen
'90 Ranger. . .pretty much stock.
'94 S10 Blazer. . .pretty much a soccermobile.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks a lot for your input.
I have not noticed any white smoke to indicate I am burning coolant. I have looked for leaks, but will look again with a hot engine. It never overheats, or even runs hot. I had it up in OOsoyoos and 'Loops in 35 degree weather, and she ran at her usual temp, under mid point on my gauge. I am sure it is not my heater core.
The reason I am looking at heads is because I researched on therangerstation.com, and found some info on chronic probs for this motor. I then called Wasneys and CeeGees wreckers, and they confirmed this. Ceegees said it would be $375 for a re-manufactured head. Ouch.
Any one else have any suggestions?
 

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From the research I have done, it seems that the cracked heads are generally caused by overheating. The design of the head coupled with the way the stock exhaust manifold is layed out just makes them very prone to warping. To be absolutely sure, get a compression tester and check the pressures on each of the cylinders... The other thing you might do to test the cooling system is (with the engine cold) use compressed air to pressurize the rad. Don't put too much or you'll create a leak, but 15 pounds should be fine. You'll see the coolant seeping out then.

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Steve Dillen
'90 Ranger. . .pretty much stock.
'94 S10 Blazer. . .pretty much a soccermobile.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for looking into it. Another question though. If I pressurize the rad, where will I see the coolant leaking on the head? If it is internal, I'll never see it. Do you mean that if the pressure drops and I dont see a leak externally that I have a cracked head?

Also, where can I get new heads for a decent price, that aren't cracked. World Castings makes them, but they are US, and only have US dealers. So, I need more options. Help...someone..please!!!
 

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Originally posted by bikeguy:
Thanks for looking into it. Another question though. If I pressurize the rad, where will I see the coolant leaking on the head? If it is internal, I'll never see it. Do you mean that if the pressure drops and I dont see a leak externally that I have a cracked head?

Two different tests... Pressurize the rad to look for hose/fitting leaks or holes in the actual radiator. You're looking for the drips that you may not be able to see when the engine is hot (due to the coolant evaporating). Run a compression test on your engine to find out if you have a low or dead cylinder -- which would likely be the case if you have head problems.

Also, is your oil milky? If the water is going into your engine, it will either be into the cylinders (white smoke), or into the oil (milky oil). If you don't have either of these, and have good cylinder compression, I would say your heads are fine. If either of these are the case, I'd look at gaskets before damaged heads. If you haven't really cooked or otherwise abused the engine, I suspect the heads are fine.

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Steve Dillen
'90 Ranger. . .pretty much stock.
'94 S10 Blazer. . .pretty much a soccermobile.

[This message has been edited by sdillen (edited September 21, 2001).]

[This message has been edited by sdillen (edited September 21, 2001).]
 

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there is another co. that makes performance heads for the 2.9 unfortunately im in bridge river and i have it book marked on my computer at home in cloverdale so in three weeks i'll post it if your still interested

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89 ranger 5" tall and a front lincoln locker
rear auburn and lotsof neat gadgets
 

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Hey bikeguy, if i were you i'd have bought a "real man truck" like your pal blahzay! hehe see ya tonight!

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'96 V8 F150 4x4 5sp Stock so far....
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The Ranger came back from the doc with a clean bill of health. It turns out I had a leak on the rad when she was pressurized. A block test and compression test revealed that the engine was in good shape. Lucky me. That could have been expensive...
 
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