Hey Everybody INFO on all Cylinder Head & Cylinder Head Gasket Repairs
The advice here holds true on every major engine repair, the prices are all that is specific to the vehicle
Specifically 1992 - 4.0L Ford Explorer
By the way if this is because of an oil leak in the vincinity of the cylinder head you may want to be absolutely sure it's not been misdiagnosed. There is a Ford TSB (Technical Service Bulletin) # 941213 about multiple oil leaks and the intake manifold is a DEFINITE suspect and it will look exactly like it coming from the head gasket. To isolate leak you'll have to either clean the area until it's spotless or pay someone to, and then put fluorescent dye in the oil, run the vehicle for a short time and then go back with a black light (makes the dye glow when wearing yellow tinted glasses/goggles) and pinpoint the leak. If this has already been done and visually confirmed by you, and your sure its the head gasket, then skip to the next section. If the oil leak is coming from the cylinder head gasket, you want to try to save some serious dough and your able to do some work yourself, you could try the following (if you don't already own a torque wrench this is way, way over your head so stop, don't buy a torque wrench, do not buy a manual, do not pass go): Buy a repair manual (Haynes is one or the more thorough ALLDATA compact disc for you car through Autozone [they have acquired ALLDATA which provides factory information in a organized fashion] ALLDATA is also available online through Autozone's website for a fee of course, but we digress), pop the components off necessary to access the cylinder head bolts (upper intake manifold/plenum, valve covers, etc.), torque the bolts to specification in manual in the EXACT sequence the manual specifies, reassembly & PRAY. I would give this a 20% chance of success, but if you have more time than money it might be work a shot. If it doesn't work you WILL be thoroughly irritated by the waste of time...again do this only if you are already properly equipped, do it exactly by the book (if the book says to torque a bolt to a specific tightness, then do it, don't halfway it and try to short cut it (almost all of those bolts will have exacting torque specifications, plus some of it's soft, strippable, warpable aluminum so keep that in mind).
Cylinder Head Gaskets Replaced at my shop cost as follows:
Diagnostics Service charge not included would be additional...ranges from: "Ummm...your head gasket is obviously blown" (the no brainer) to "Your check engine light is on due to a slight misfire at idle...the slight misfire is due to a slight lack of compression at idle...and after running a cylinder compression test (static & dynamic) and then a cylider leak down test it would seem that the cylinder head gasket has a crossleak from the compression ring (the part of the gasket that actually seals the cylinder) to one of the oil passages in the gasket on cylinder #2 (the diag on that one isn't going to be a quick fast deal and is gonna cost some money) to "the oil leak is coming from the left cylinder head gasket in the rear" (the diag there could be easy or could involve all of the above which takes time and ain't cheap) to "Well your water pump failed, leaked coolant, system ran low on coolant, overheated, we've installed the new water pump, ran the vehicle discovered a coolant leak due to a blown cylinder head gasket caused by the overheat, and now we have to address that (now you're kicking yourself for driving the vehicle while overheating and not realizing it, or you are considering shooting yourself or son/daughter/ spouse/relative/friend for knowing it was overheating and continuing to drive even so. --- definitely a diag charge, but not too extensive and no they may have not been able to forsee the blown head gasket before fixing the water pump...if it won't hold coolant then you really have to address the first leak you see (generally the largest) when you pressure test the cooling system before hand (there is a rather esoteric method of checking for an internal crossleak in the head gasket between the combustion chamber and the cooling system called a "block check" which checks for the presence of Carbon Monoxide in the cooling system by means of a chemical test, not unlike that which is used at pools and such to measure chemical levels (kinda like a pH test with litmus paper, except this one uses liquid "litmus paper"), but again that is an additional expense to you the customer for a test that won't check for every type of head gasket failure and is only accurate about 80% of the time for the type of failure it is designed to detect.
Labor - 10-12hrs labor $650-$1000 (maybe more, maybe less depending on labor rates & the P.I.T.R. factor...see below)(P.I.T.R. [Pain In The Rear] factor must be figured...no seriously you're not talking about a new car here so frozen bolts, messed up connectors to repair must be accounted for in the labor time, this totally has to do with the condition of the car. If it's from an or ever spent any time in areas that salt is exposure occurred, then watch out. But, if you live in an arid warmer climate you are better off...Frozen bolts can turn into SIEZED bolts. The difference being frozen bolts can be worked out, albeit slowly, whereas siezed bolt don't exactly work like that. Broken bolt repair [whether it breaks during removal or it's already broken] are not accounted for here in most cases and that repair is extra. Any exhaust bolts are definitely suspect/more prone to breakage...and unless your mechanic is just a sick puppy he WON'T WAMT to HAVE to repair any broken bolts...no mechanic is particularly fond of doing this grizzly, sometimes harrowing, and definitely frustrating & tedious task unless they're some kind of sado-masochist, believe me bolt removal is an art form not a science. So, don't worry too much about it being broken on purpose, trust me it is a PAIN we don't like at all, and most anything you're charged is break even...maybe, but probably not even close to what it actually took to fix. But if one or six do break the time it takes to repair is whatever it is (there isn't any "book" (estimate) time on this repair -- and there is only about half a million different types of repair procedures that could be necessary depending on the particular situation/scenario of each individual bolt).
Unknowns - Cylinder head machine work and valve work...this is a total unknown or at best an educated guess before teardown, cleaning, and inspection. If it overheated you may want to have it pressure tested and you'll want to see if the heat caused any distortion (warpage) by checking for cylinder head flatness on the mating surface with block (we're talking about distortion as little as 3/1000ths of an inch -- like a difference or warp depth of a couple sheets of paper can mean Go or No Go particularly on aluminum cylinder heads, if warped the head will need resurfaced, if it fails a pressure test due to cylinder head damage you'll need to replace the head. Valve stem seals (the seals that keep the oil under the valve cover on top of the engine from running down and being burnt in the combustion chamber would be a very, very good idea on a high mileage vehicle since they dry out over time and this results in a poor seal, which likewise results in excessive or non-stock oil consumption (and the little or large plume of white smoke you may see after sitting awhile upon cranking or upon acceleration at any time--if you don't see this with a 92 vehicle you probably not far from that point, regardless of how well it's been taken care of just because of Father Time. Carbon deposits & wear on the valves, valve stems, and valve guides, and valve seats need to checked while the cylinder heads are off too (the logic being: before you drop a pretty penny on the gasket you should definitely address any other issues that would require the cylinder head be removed. If you don't know what these components are, or you just want more information on them go to my website at this exact address: http://www.delrichards.com/Repairs_Systems/Repairs_Internal_Engine.htm -- once you're there click on the "Valves" hyperlink, the "Valve Seat" hyperlink, and the "Valve Guides" hyperlink, etc. for explanations of what this stuff is, does, and I believe there is a good bit of information on the why & how of service to these components as well etc. All of these items need to be looked at and an opinion and recommendation be given from an experienced and qualified mechanic. Check out the whole site at http://www.delrichards.com. I'm still in progress with tons of it, be sure to check out the headings Services-->Repairs-->"Repair" hyperlink button in gold (this page has contains links to the almost every system in a vehicle I could think of and the next page that pops up after you click one of the systems has almost every sensor and/or subcomponent I could think of for that particular system, AND if you click a particular subcomponent you'll be linked to a third-party page (for credibility and thoroughness...it would have taken a year to develop my own information on all of this stuff instead of the marathon 72 hour web surfing spree to find good links to the proper and accurate information, not to mention the bandwidth and space it would have taken up) with at least a description of the system subcomponent, if not an extremely thorough description of component function, application, etc. Also click the heading Link-->and "Links" hyperlink button in gold - On the page that pops up here you'll find a plethora of information from manufacturers websites to car repair information sites, heck there's even some comedy stuff. Check this stuff out to get a grasp of whats involved.
If the vehicle WON'T run right now, you need to be as truthful and thorough as possible with you mechanic about what happened leading up to this failure. Especially if it overheated or was run an extended period of time in less than optimum condition. How hot did it get? How long did it overheat? How long has coolant been getting into the oil? etc. etc. If it won't run he won't be able to properly check the lower part of the engine out for problems. Bad connecting rod bearings, ruined piston rings, or piston ring lands, etc. etc. Even if it will run he does not have an all seeing eye, no mechanic anywhere can run a 100% accurate test on such things as piston rings that have lost tension due to heat without having everything else correct...What this means to you? You pay for a cylinder head to be installed only to find out you'll need these other components replaced too...and guess what if the rings, pistons, or connecting rods need to be replaced the head will have to come off again along with bottom components in order to access and repair these parts, and it's not the mechanics responsibility either. The car sat in you yard for 2 years with coolant in the oil? Well there may be a good chance the bottom components of your engine a covered with rust, the oil can't protect against localized direct contact with water/coolant for quite that long. To him/her it will look almost the same 2 days or 2 years with coolant in the oil, and there is a HUGE difference. Two days has a miniscule probability of being an issue unless the vehicle was driven to far in said condition, two years is a guaranteed disaster. A tenth of a MILLIMETER, the thickness of copier paper, ( 1/10mm or .1mm) of rust on a bearing will wreak havoc, driving too far with coolant in the oil is the same as either not having oil in your car period or draining the oil and putting thin, watery baby oil in it...not good at all. There was absolutely no way he could know, even with the cylinder head off you can always tell 100% of the time, or even 60% of the time. And it's not good practice or particularly even smart to reuse a cylinder head gasket and he MIGHT give you a break on the redundant labor. So be honest, be as informative as possible, let him do his job in advising & apprising. It may be in you interest to go ahead and consider going through the engine completely or replacing it with another engine if it ran hot enough to ruin a head gasket for the last 30 mile leg of your trip instead of calling Triple A. Let him/her know so they can be your advocate.
Parts will vary too, but obviously they're gonna run between $300-$700 again dependant on many a factor (such as What's needed and what's not?)
If this is cut and dry V6 cylinder head gasket replacement on both sides with service work only done to the heads, this means a refurbishment of any worn components (and definitely don't let anyone, including yourself, talk you into replacing "only the one" with a problem (if only one shows a problem)) the you are looking at somewhere between $1300-$1700 and add a little more if the cylinder heads need valve guides lined (lining with phosphor-bronze liners is the preferred method of correcting valve guide wear in your vehicle, not knurling, oversized valves, or new valve guides unless absolutely necessary (there is an occasion for everything)) or if the cylinder heads need major valve seat work (both of these repair/service operation's cost are highly dependent on what is being done.
Sorry about the long windedness, but I wanted to get this information on FAQFarm since so much of it is applicable to all cylinder head relate repairs, not just the Ford. Do check out my website I'm quite proud :) of it and it really is killer as far as it depth and scope (at least the parts that are finished.)
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