View Full Version : New SC Owner needs advice-HeadGskt-Updated Video Inc

02-17-2010, 04:48 PM
I am glad to say i am the proud new owner of a very nice 1990 sc thunderbird.
This car has a blown headgasket but still the power it has is amazing, i cant wait to finish it up and get it on the road.

I have a bunch of questions i will just rattle off, i have read alot of things here but alot of posts were older so i just wanna touch base on whats current and best for my situation.

First off, what should my list of supplies be? Gaskets, tools, and anything else i may need. By tools i mean specialty tools, and or torque wrench (inch or foot pounds?). things of that nature. I do all my own work but this is the biggest job i have done nevertheless i have all the tools a normal backyard mech would have.

2nd, what other things should i do being this job will have the top half of motor opened up? I dont have a check engine light but would changing the o2 sensors be a good idea? Heavy gas smell coming so i have to assume they are fouled.

3rd, Any dos or donts in this job, things i should be very carefull about, pay special attn to?

4th, in regards to parts any specific name brands i should look for or stay away from?

I look forward to being around here for awhile, my name is Tony, i live in michigan and i thank you guys for the site and any or all help/advice you may give me.

02-17-2010, 05:28 PM
Use ARP head studs from a 2.8 liter chevy v6. They are under 100 bucks an dwell worth the investment. Do not get the studs for a 3.8 tbird....

I use standard felpro gaskets and it keps costs down. New 02 are a good idea if you had blown gaskets

I reccomend geting the heads checked out and new valve springs wouldnt be a bad idea as the stock ones are barely good enough.

Now how do you know the gaskets are bad?

02-17-2010, 05:55 PM
where in mi bro... i live in muskegon.

02-17-2010, 06:49 PM
basic stuff

get the heads resurfaced with a fine finish, might as well throw some mls gaskets on there and not have to worry about it for a good while

the head gaskets for a 97 f150 4.2 v6 are the ones i use, be sure if you do use the MLS gaskets you drill out the bottom center rivet else the gasket won't seal, you'll see it won't clear if you don't drill it out when you try to put the head on

good idea to change o2s anyway, NTK last alot longer than OEM

do yourself a favor and tap on all the head bolts with a hammer before you remove them, I had a head bolt strip out on me in my red 90 5spd, it was a headache I ended up welding a socket to it to get it off :(

you might just want to get yourself an m8x1.25 clean out tap and helicoil kit incase something happens

be sure you clean out all the threads for the rocker arms

get the molded valve cover gaskets not the cork type

it would be a good idea to clean out the carbon buildup from the throttle body

check all vac lines, or you can just change them all out for a few bucks

also while you have the heads off CHANGE the heater hoses, trust me on this, if you don't want to change them at least take them off and put them back on that way their not as hard when they do decide to go

its pretty straight forward, have fun and enjoy

02-17-2010, 07:16 PM
I second what Damon recommended. MLS is not really needed for a stock replacement, the standard Fel Pro gaskets with the head studs will last a long time. If you go MLS use the 98 Mustang, 9262 and 9263 gaskets as they fit without any modifactionan and come with the rubber coating.

Chase the threads in the block with an M11x1.5 tap, and you will need a torque wrench that is good up to 90 ft-lbs..

Tim Groth
02-17-2010, 07:27 PM
As mentioned the 2.8 ARP hardware is a good idea, if your going to stay stock the Felpro Blue gaskets are just fine in most applications. I've used them on several SC's with bolt ons and have yet to have an issue...if you're bolting on stock heads and so forth I wouldn't go the extra personally. Now my birds with ported heads, big valves etc have the MLS.

Good to change anything you can't reach easily normally...plugs, wires, check the motor mounts...things that are a pain to replace other wise.

Special tools - you'll need a power steering pump pulley puller (20 bucks at a parts store) and a proper torque wrench for the head torquing sequence.

As for gaskets I usually just get the head gaskets, valve cover gaskets and intake manifold gaskets...no need for the upper engine kit as theres a lot in there thats overkill honestly.


02-17-2010, 11:34 PM
Get a set of teflon inner cooler gaskets....

02-18-2010, 01:00 AM
The suggestions on here are really good. There are a couple of "gotchas" I think I should mention.

The thing that I found most annoying about doing this job on my base model car was the difficulty of removing the exhaust manifolds. The nuts and studs at the downtubes were completely rusted. I wound up having to cut the studs with a hacksaw from under the car. Then I had to drill the studs out of the manifold and replace them with bolts. The exhaust manifold bolts in the head can be weak after years of corrosion, so go easy on them, or you might end up with one snapped off in the head.

Another one is that the upper bolt and bracket holding the lower intercooler tube is a pain to get to. If I remember right, you have to get it after sliding the accessory bracket forward. A lot of people (including me) actually leave that bolt out when putting it all back together.

Another thing is that the earlier cars have a heater hose passing through the casting of the throttle body. This makes it difficult to remove the blower and inlet plenum. It's there to prevent throttle body icing in the winter. If you are comfortable with going without it, you can just bypass the TB by installing a short barb connector. In any case, you can cut the hose to make removal easier, and just replace it with some heater hose from the parts store.

Also, definitely replace plugs and wires while you have it apart. No easier time, and the Motorcraft parts are pretty affordable.

Motor mounts are likely to be worn out. I just had mine replaced (sorry, I wimped out and let the shop do it), and the car has been driving SO much smoother. I shold have done it years ago, even though they didn't really seem to be bad until recently.

I am probably going to use all this advice in my own life soon, as my car blew the HGs a couple weeks ago. It's been parked since ... hoping to get it running soon.

02-18-2010, 02:50 AM
dont forget to think about a replacement water pump at this time also. and if front cover is leaking to repair that when the motor is torn down.

also i would suggest replacing the snout seal onthe supercharger and fill with some fresh oil.

get a complete gasket set, like many i recommend the fel-pro upper engine set (napa sells it as do others) it has almost every gasket (not including supercharger) that you will need to replace all seals on motor.

make sure the PCV hoses are not blocked. clean clean clean everything and keep your work area nice and organized. these motors are very complex with the amount of crap ford bolted on in various locations with every different size bolt imaginable.

dont rush your work and it will be fine.

02-18-2010, 02:59 AM
Here's an excerpt from a post that I put up after completing my own head gasket replacement project three years ago. Basically, in addition to the head gaskets themselves, I replaced everything that was difficult or impossible to get to with the heads in place. Prices may be different now, but most everything is still relevant...

Head Gasket Kit, FelPro, HS9642PT, O'Reilly, $92.99
Head Stud Kit, ARP, 233-4003, Jeg's, $81.99
Expansion Plug, Cylinder Head, Brass, CEP, 219-8041, NAPA, $1.39 ea. (4 req'd.)
Spark Plug, Motorcraft, AGSF34FM, O'Reilly, $3.99 ea. (6 req'd.)
Spark Plug Wire Set, Motorcraft, WR4101, PartsAmerica, $51.88
Belt, Drive, Dayco, 5080900, Advance Auto, $26.96
Belt, Jack Shaft, Dayco, 5070425, Advance Auto, $15.94
Belt, Supercharger, Dayco, 5080393, Advance Auto, $19.88
Pulley, Tensioner, Dayco, 89016, Advance Auto, $22.96 ea. (3 req'd.)
Coolant (heater) Hose, RH, Gates, 19687, O'Reilly, $8.99
Coolant (heater) Hose, LH, Gates, 19686, O'Reilly, $10.99
Motor Mount (pair), N/A, EM100, Spinning Wheels SC, $50.00
Transmission Mount, N/A, TRB1058, Spinning Wheels SC, $29.00
Crossmember Mount (set), N/A, TM100, Spinning Wheels SC, $32.00
Manifold Stud Kit, BK, 600-1816, NAPA, $4.99 ea. (2 req'd.)
Oxygen Sensor, Bosch, 13942, O'Reilly, $38.99 ea. (2 req'd.)
Supercharger Snout Seal, SKF (was Chicago Rawhide), 7968, NAPA, $6.49
Supercharger Fluid - 4 oz., GM, 12345982, GM, 7.96 ea. (2 req'd.)
Intercooler Seal Kit, Tinner105, N/A, Tinner105, $17.00
Ultra Grey RTV Sealant - 3.5 oz., Permatex, 599BR, O'Reilly, $4.49
Copper Anti-seize Lubricant - 1 oz., Permatex, 765-2568, NAPA, $4.49

1) Prices are as of February, 2007
2) Tax not included
3) Part numbers are for 1989 Super Coupe. Other years may vary.
4) Listed manufacturers and sources are those that I used. Other brands/suppliers may work equally.
5) Parts listed are those that I replaced. Not all are required for head gasket replacement.
6) Reader may want to include additional parts to this list to suit their individual project.

In addition, I paid $84.00 to have my pair of cylinder heads dip-tanked and the decks resurfaced. They were otherwise perfect, requiring only hand-lapping the valves.

I also had a pair of cat-less down tubes fabricated and installed for $120.00. This included fitting, and installation of the RH O2 sensor fitting.

You may find better parts/sources/prices, etc. These are what I was able to find locally, and/or obtain quickly. I'm sure this will vary regionally. I hope this helps others on their project. Many of the P/N's listed above were used because of thorough use of the "search" feature on this site, and at the advise of several recognized SCCoA experts.

Good Luck,


02-18-2010, 11:30 AM
Wow, you guys are great, im overloaded with info now.

The previous owner just called me, he said i need to look into something called a DIS Module, he states that if this goes out it causes the same kind of troubles the car is experiencing now, gas it real hard revving and let off when it idles down it stalls.. Heavy gas fumes, etc etc. Basically running, but runinng rough as rough can get. He seemed as though i should check this out before i go into this headgasket job. My only doubt in regards to this theory is when i drove the car home the temperature shot up halfway and the intercooler kicked in and it dropped, but that spike in temp leads me to think i am still needing a head gasket but you guys are the pros i will listen to you.

I will answer your questions,

I reccomend geting the heads checked out and new valve springs wouldnt be a bad idea as the stock ones are barely good enough.
Now how do you know the gaskets are bad?

I already had plans to get the head machined, a friend told me if i am looking to make it bad ~~~ i need to get the heads port and polished, i looked into this and it was 5 to 600 bucks. More than i can afford, is this port polish neccesary?

I assume the headggasket is bad cause the previous owner said so, and also the coolant spiked halfway on my way home when i bought the car till the intercooler kicked in.

where in mi bro... i live in muskegon.

I live in Coopersville, about 15 minutes from ya, small world.

The rest of you guys i read every post and wrote everythign down, thank you very much for the info i will definately put it to use.

I am now anxiously awaiting thoughts on this DIS module. How awesome it would be this car just needs a module and a windshield, i cant be that lucky though lol.

02-18-2010, 12:43 PM
The spike in the temp has nothing to do with your intercooler. The purpose of the intercooler is to cool the air from the supercharger. Sounds like you have some basic troubleshooting to do. First off is it throwng any codes.

02-18-2010, 12:53 PM
No sir none at all, i have no check engine light.

David Neibert
02-18-2010, 02:28 PM
Doesn't really sound like a blown HG.


02-18-2010, 03:23 PM
Ok then my next question is what are the symptoms of a blown headgasket?

If i recorded some video of me revving and idling the car help?

02-18-2010, 04:31 PM
Pulling the spark plugs would help you find out if you have a leaking head gasket. The spark plugs can tell you of other problems too, such as improper fuel mixtures.

Other symptoms to look for (if headgaskets):

Coolant in oil?
Excessive bubbles in coolant?
Coolant level drop after driving, with no leaks?
If the leak is bad enough, you can't start the car because of incompressible water filling one or more cylinders.

When you say "when i drove the car home the temperature shot up halfway and .... it dropped" - where on the gauge is this spike maxing out? Is the car overheating, or is "halfway" in the "norm" area of the gauge?

I don't think this sounds like a head gasket either...more like maybe a vacuum leak plus a coolant system/temp sender problem..hard to say over the internet though. :rolleyes: If you think it's the head gaskets, you'd better not drive it, especially if you find coolant in the oil.

02-18-2010, 05:06 PM
Ok heres the scoop, I got this car a week ago and since i just been reading up and compiling a list for the things i need for the repairs, the car sits in my driveway, the first few days i would take it out to the parking lot and do donuts just cause i have never had a car powerfull enough to do so. Tire went flat so i cut that out. Im waiting for uncle sam taxes to begin this venture, got my windshield ordered and delivered just needs to be installed.

Ok i got the car a week ago, the gentleman i got it from drove me home in it and that was great as i got to know the car well with him driving and got to ask alot of questions. Car wouldnt fit on a dolly so he maintained the car has NEVER overheated and we will be fine for the drive, and the drive is 20 minutes from his place to mine. He says the intercooler is what saves us.
About 5 minutes out i am watching the temperature guage and it rises, when i say it shot up here is what i mean, it was running in the first 1/4 inch of the guage, very cool, perhaps in the blue, im in the passenger seat so perhaps my peripheral is off a bit. About 5 minutes in we are on the highway doing 85 and the temperature noticeably rises to halfway between cold and hot, always withing normal operating temps. Then as fast as it went up it slowly went back down to within a 1/4 of the cold side and stayed that way the next 15 minutes till we got home.

Heres what the car did as i can see, first off i put 10 [email protected]#$%^&g dollars in gas in this thing and that got me20 minutes of driving, so bad gas mileage is a majopr issue right now, you can smell the gas damn near coming out of the exhaust. On the high way it bucked alot, like almost it is missing or losing power for a split second. At stops signs it doesnt idle well you feel like it wants to stall. In park if you idle it real high and let off the gas it idles down to the point it stalls. The owner says the plugs and wires are new and to leave them alone cause it is a pain in the ~~~ to change and it doesnt need to be done unnecessarily. He also maintains the head gasket is bad thats why i assumed it was bad and have been making plans to change it. Previous owner calls me today and says to check the dis module before doing this headgasket job, an sc friend of his told him he went thru them alot and had similiar symptoms.

Ive done nothing with this car cause i am broke till taxes come in which is hopefully tomorrow. i do not have a garage thats why i havent done any specific testinigs or looked things over. I have a neighbor with a garage i can use though i just didnt wanna call in that favor till i did the head gasket job cause i know that will take me at least 3 or 4 days. im sure he wont mind if i use it to do some testing for a few hours this weekend.

Pulling the spark plugs would help you find out if you have a leaking head gasket. The spark plugs can tell you of other problems too, such as improper fuel mixtures.

Please explain further as to what i would be looking for in diagnosing this. excessively white dry plugs and or wet gassy oilly plugs?

The previous owner did say there is NO coolant in the oil and the motor has never overheated.

02-18-2010, 05:22 PM
Please explain further as to what i would be looking for in diagnosing this. excessively white dry plugs and or wet gassy oilly plugs?

Any cylinders that the gasket is leaking into will have nice *steam-cleaned* plugs. The "head-gasket leak spark plugs" I've seen were noticeably cleaner than the rest of them, on the three jobs I've done. If the plugs are new, the rest might not be dirtied-up enough to tell a difference though.

If I remember right, on all three headgasket jobs, it was the passenger rear cylinder that was blown - if not multiple cylinders. :rolleyes: So, make sure to pull that one!

I read that you have no check-engine light, but I would try to pull codes on it anyway. Several times that I've had problems with different vehicles, there was a useful code in memory, but it wasn't an active one (in other words - the CEL was not on). Maybe pulling the codes will give you a hint as to what is wrong. :)

02-18-2010, 10:29 PM
Can someone teach me how to use a paper clip to get codes?

02-19-2010, 12:00 AM
My vote is a vacuum leak....:p

Take a length of vacuum hose, put one end in you ear, and probe around with the other end.....

Probe around both sides and the rear of the intake manifold....

Check around all the inner cooler tube connections.....

You will hear a definite hiss if there is a leak.....

02-19-2010, 01:14 PM
Can someone teach me how to use a paper clip to get codes?

You need to access the EEC test connector under the hood, on the passenger side, behind the shock tower. Pull the black shield up and away from the fender, then pull out the two wiring connectors. You need to run a paper clip (or piece of wire) from the small 1-wire connector to one of the slots on the larger connector. I don't have the wiring diagram in front of me, but I think that it's the right-hand slot on the shorter row. That's just from memory, so you might want to check it. But I don't think you will blow anything up if you get it wrong. Then you go in to the car and turn the key. You should hear the fans kick on for a moment and several "bump" noises from relay tests. The CHECK ENGINE light will flicker briefly, then blink the codes. You will need a pen and paper to write them down and a code list to check them. It's a little tricky at first to figure out which part is the code and which part is just a separator, but I think a Haynes manual can tell you that part. Or maybe someone else has the info handy.

By the way, erratic temperature gauge is one of the symptoms of a blown head gasket. I think it's because of bubbles being blown from the cylinders into the cooling system. They form air pockets which "look" cool to the gauge sender. Just mentioning that it could in fact be a sign of a blown head gasket, which you suspect it may have.

Tim Groth
02-19-2010, 03:39 PM
Based on what you've descirbed it doesn't sound to me like you have any issues with the headgaskets. I'd keep an eye on your coolant levels and also next oil change should be able to tell you if there were as well.

I'd say you're running rich from a vaccum leak and probably flooding yourself with fuel causing the miss. When you start the car, on the boost guage where does it register? Should be almost sitting on 20lbs at idol.

Also any parts store will run codes for you free to my knowledge, might make life easier for you then trying it first time with the paper clip.


02-19-2010, 04:30 PM
Ok guys i got my taxes today and i am ready to get this baby operational.

Im getting plates for it in an hour, at that point i will drive to autozone and get it code checked. I will probly let it idle in the street for ten or fifteen minutes while i check for any leaks, i might change the oil as well, just spent 50 bucks on oil and filter, pricey pricey, should i wait on changing it till we know if it is a head gasket or not? I just wanted to change it to see if it was foamy or not.

Took advice on the felpro gaskets and ordered them anyways i willhave em tomorrow, the chevy apr bolts though they didnt understand, perhaps if you had a part number it would help me help them.

Im disappointed my windshield wasnt installed today, the guy was to busy, this info ruins my weekend a bit and the only reason i am staying with this shop is because they already got the windshield. Monday it is installed, hopefully bny then i can make heads or tails of my tbird issues.

I have one car and my taxes came in. I want the car to get tbird going she wants the car to go shopping. GLADIATORS!!!!! Let the war begin.

02-21-2010, 03:38 PM
Ok gentleman, here is some good video of the car and how it sounds, i have no frame of reference since this is my first Bird, does this sound like vacuum leaks? Thx for the help.


02-21-2010, 03:52 PM
the file is temp unavail

oh well i tried

02-22-2010, 11:04 AM
When i click the link it works fine you just have to put that 4 letter code in.

Ok, UPDATE: As we type the windshield is being installed, when i pulled it into this nice garage i checked oil and coolant all was well. The oil looked fine, however it had a real gassy smell to it.

Heres my biggest problem, i wanna go the code route first but i called 3 autozones and they dont have a tool to check codes for cars older than 1995.
My local shop also doesnt have the ability, the other shop i have near me will and can do it but they want 75 dollars. Pretty steep for my budget atm.

What are my options? If i go straight to a ford dealership will they read it for free? I just wanna get started working on this thing, get some codes read figure out what i need to do and do it.

Thx again.

02-22-2010, 12:55 PM
I just have to say it...If you do have a bad gasket. You absolutely shouldnt be driving the car at all untill you figure out whats really wrong. Its a good way to destroy your motor. Autozone will not help you with codes as its not OBDII.

The symptoms do sound like bad plugs..But if they have bene changed you can rule that out. However I warn you I have sene many SC's with new plugs in which 5 of the 6 were changes. So its a good idea to check. It will give you practice changing them anyways.

If you drain teh oil and it doesnt look bad..Then change it. If it does....You shouldnt of been driving it anyway!!!!!

If your gasket are bad you will almost definitely have either water in oil or oil in water. So check antifreeze for oil also

You want ARP head studs for a 2.8 liter chevy v6 engine. SUmmit racing online will have them..probably not autozone.

Now all this being said and plugs and all check out fine it can be a few things

1) Vacuum leak
2) Fuel
3) Idle bypass valve

It isnt such a bad idea to get yourself a 255lph pump and install. It will rule out a pump issue and give you an added dose of protection for any future mods you may require. COst also isnt all that much

Just my 5 cents

02-22-2010, 01:01 PM
Look up paper clip method for code checking on here....Get the numbers..Then you can easly find the code if any. DO you have a check engine light?

Cleaning the maff element with electrical spay cleaner isnt such a bad idea. Also o2 sensors may be an issue if never changed. RUnning rich could be in part due to many things including a vacuum leak. Its hard to giv ean answer over a computer but you can most definitly rule certain things out and that will help us help you

02-22-2010, 01:53 PM
By the way, erratic temperature gauge is one of the symptoms of a blown head gasket. I think it's because of bubbles being blown from the cylinders into the cooling system. They form air pockets which "look" cool to the gauge sender.

I believe it is just the opposite. The extremely hot exhaust gases leak into the coolant and causes the gauge to spike hot.

I had a cracked head on my 1980 regal with the 4.9 Pontiac motor. It would spike the temperature gauge only when under load and over xxx rpms. When I moved the temperature gauge to the other head it wouldn't happen.

02-22-2010, 03:13 PM
I believe it is just the opposite. The extremely hot exhaust gases leak into the coolant and causes the gauge to spike hot.

I had a cracked head on my 1980 regal with the 4.9 Pontiac motor. It would spike the temperature gauge only when under load and over xxx rpms. When I moved the temperature gauge to the other head it wouldn't happen.

Or mayeb it needs to be bled

02-22-2010, 04:02 PM
I believe it is just the opposite. The extremely hot exhaust gases leak into the coolant and causes the gauge to spike hot.

I had a cracked head on my 1980 regal with the 4.9 Pontiac motor. It would spike the temperature gauge only when under load and over xxx rpms. When I moved the temperature gauge to the other head it wouldn't happen.

You may be right there. I was thinking that heat transfer to the sensor would be less effective, but I guess the ACT sensor is pretty similar in design to the ECT sensor, and it reads gas temperature just fine. So maybe the gases do cause the temperature reading to go up. In any case, I know that the spikes are one symptom of blown HG.

02-22-2010, 05:18 PM
Ok slow down dude.

we are all here to help but from what I have read you are not listning to the other list members.

i repeat we are not being dicks about this we are trying to help you diag.

first thing you need to do is check the faults in the car using the paperclip method before driving car.

second if there is not straight forward fault doing that then you really need to look at the intake and intercooler for leaks. a simple can of brake clean will also help find a leak but the rubber hose held up to your ear (used as a stythescope) will be your best bet.

inspect all plug wires for proper routing and connnection at plugs and coil. pull the plugs and inspect and replace as needed.

yes the dis could do this to the car i think autozone or a similar place can test the ingnition module there.

make sure the pcv is seated in the rear of the pass valve cover and connected to intake like it should (that will cause a vacuum leak)

there is also a hose from front of drivers valve cover that goes all the way over to the rubber intake pipe that connects to the air filter.

you said you checked oil, did you drian it?? if you have coolant in oil it will come out first as coolant then have a milkshake look to the oil.

did you check the coolant, open up the rad cap and look inside, if there is oil in coolant then the oil will float to the top and be right at the cap.

does the car smoke, white, grey ect when running...???

let car cool, remove rad cap and start vehicle, does coolant fountain out the top or bubble out like a coffee maker. if exhaust is getting into coolant it will cause coolant to bubble out or get forced out with pressure (DO NOT DO THIS TO A HOT MOTOR!!!!!!)

Last thing to check on very back of motor intake piping right behind super charger is a rubber line that goes down to the fuel pressure regulator. unhook that and ovserve if fuel is coming out of it. a ruptured fuel regulator could flood motor with fuel on intake side and cause your mileage and power problems.

those are basic checks that you can do before you condemn head gaskets, you really dont wana do the gaskets in a drive way or such unless you are familiar with this motor.. its a bitch..

hope that helps.

02-22-2010, 05:50 PM
Ok, im in the middle of doing KOEO and KEOR tests, i got the first one done here are the results,


I went over the light flashes meticulously so i think this is accurate.

To the last guy, oil looks fine, coolant looks fine.

My fuel pump is staying on way to long, where do i find the relay to that to see if it is fouled up?

02-22-2010, 05:57 PM
Ok, im in the middle of doing KOEO and KEOR tests, i got the first one done here are the results,


I went over the light flashes meticulously so i think this is accurate.

To the last guy, oil looks fine, coolant looks fine.

My fuel pump is staying on way to long, where do i find the relay to that to see if it is fouled up?


It pumps constantly when engine is running, it will prime the system for 3 sec when you go to key on but dont start it.

relay is in trunkleft hand side behind the carpet liner there is a black cover remove that cover and relay is under there, its green.

02-22-2010, 06:05 PM
Well, i turn the car and key off and the fuel pump stayed on 40 seconds maybe longer i went inside, previous owner warned me about it, he used to keep his negative battery cable off everynight.

02-22-2010, 06:21 PM
all right well the relay is in trunk, napa sells them.

02-22-2010, 06:27 PM
Im kind of nervous now, went out to check it and the best way i can describe it as a small electrical arching sound coming from the wires in trunk, i could be crazy but as i moved them it did seem like it was affecting the idle of the car to the point it stalled out. Ill post back in 30 minutes when i put new relay in...

Biggest trouble at the moment is getting the car to go thru the cylinders balance test. It keeps stalling out during the operation.

02-22-2010, 06:29 PM
Ok, so I got to page 2 of this thread and skipped ahead... hope I'm not repeating anything already said...

I had a "buck and jerk" issure with my '89 SC when I first bought it (after I got it running again), if I remember right I think I was running very rich too. New(er) cam and crank sensor went a long ways into helping that problem (cam sensor helped the most).

Also, putting a pressure-tester to the cooling system could help reveal, or eliminate the possibility of, any coolant leaks.

02-22-2010, 06:38 PM
ok got thru the KOER selt test and it popped these codes as well.


Still waiting for kids to get back so i can do more on the relay.

02-23-2010, 12:03 PM
Alright gentz its a new day and the sun is shining.

Went out and put the new relay for fuel pump in, drove my daughter to work and when i turn the car off, fuel pump turns off, so i think that problem is solved, the old relay had ford engraved on it so i bet it was the original. i wasnt to happy that the new relay was made in india, but i wont complain till it fails me iu guess.

Ok today i do this, oil change, oil filter change, and i am almost certain the way it is acting i am losing a cylinder due to bad spark plug, wire, coil, or dis.
I got a nice spark plug tool that i am about to use and i will post results later.

Off the top of my head if that number 3 plug is a pain to get to i bet that is where my issue is as stated by some one here earlier.

Wish me luck gents, so far been good progress daily.

02-23-2010, 06:16 PM
Tested all the spark today, weirdest thing though, when facing the motor the 3 plugs closest to the windshield were weak when testing off the ignition coil. The 3 closest to me had good strong spark though.
The weird thing is this coil looks brand new, i almost wonder if my problem relates to DIS module. I bet the previous owner tried to change the coil as a possible quick fix, but it didnt work. I called pep boys they want 400 for this DIS module, the usual being around 150, autozone says 88 buck have it tomorrow. They say they can test my module as well. i am going there tonight to get it checked and possibly order the new one.

Can anyone explain the weak spark on the back 3 plugs of the coil?

02-23-2010, 09:27 PM
Can anyone explain the weak spark on the back 3 plugs of the coil?

The weaker spark on the back three plugs is because the coil uses what is called a waste spark system, the coil pack is actually only three coils. The back plugs (cyl #s 1 2 3) are paired with the respective plugs on the front plgs (cyl #s 5 6 4). The pairs are 1&5 2&6 and 3&4 (each pair is one coil). Both of the spark plugs on each pair fire when one of the cyls fire. So when cyl 1 fires on it's compression stroke, cyl 5 fires on its exhaust stroke (thats why its called a "Waste Spark" system). The spark also always travels the same path, from the negative side of the coil, through the first spark plug (forward firing), through the engine, through the second plug (reverse firing), then back to the positive side coil pack. One side of the coil pack is Negative, and the other side is positive. If cyl # 1 is on the ~~~ side of the coil and cyl 5 on the neg side of the coil, then the power will always go through cyl 1's plug first then through cyl 5's plug regardless of which cyl is on the compression stroke.

02-23-2010, 10:12 PM
Thx for the info but you also dashed my hopes, i was praying it was gonna be a bad ignition coil pack.

Took my DIS modue to autozone, he said he wasnt able to test it cause of some reason or another, i asked him to try anyways since he had the connector and it passed inspection. Now you say this i am stumped.

Car runs like crap, stalls, awefull idle, im pulling codes and most are easy to understand but i dont know what Code 19 and code 22 mean exactly. I think one of those two are my problems. I dont wanna buy a new dis module if i dont need one.

02-24-2010, 06:06 PM
I had an ignition module that tested good but didn't work right on the car. So there is still a chance it could be that.

As far as weak spark on the rear terminals of the coil goes, I don't know if the waste spark system can explain that. Doesn't the same pulse of energy travel through both of the paired terminals? So how could the spark be weaker in one place than in the other?

02-24-2010, 06:59 PM
You have had so many things on and off the car I reccomend you reset the codes. Then retest after a drive and see what pops up.

Have you treid cleaning teh MAF element?..Still What is your vacuum at idle? Boost level at WOT

02-24-2010, 07:29 PM
save yourself the 75 dollars and get this http://www.amazon.com/Equus-3145-Ford-Digital-Reader/dp/B000EW0KHW

at autozone or oriellys for 30 or 35 bucks i think

05-02-2010, 03:41 PM
So, what were the problems?

05-05-2010, 12:37 AM
I had some coolant showing up on the front of the garage under the support where the oil filter is. Not every time I drove the car, just sometimes. Sunday I was down about 1/2 gallon in the radiator and filled the overflow tank. I drove the car today about 24 miles. The overflow was down a lot. I let the car cool, opened the radiator cap, and started the car. The water was popping up like hot grease in a frying pan. Looks like I am in for another learning experience.
I have been reading through these 2 threads

Will look through txsc #10 in the second thread for a starting point of parts to look at replacing. I should be able to get a real good look at my EGR eh? Have been getting DTC's 124, 185, 332, 538, & 558.
Thanks for the good start guys. Maybe I can meet thirdbird- Paul Oregon 97220, I will be in need of a spanner wrench.

05-07-2010, 12:34 PM
Many things were needed to get this car operational, at first i thought it to be a lemon and still i find it very costly to maintain repair and keep these cars going, but it is so freakin fast now i am hooked and willhave this car along time. I love it.

To close out this thread from the time i bought the car this is what i have done to repair it and make it run well.

Drivers side mirror:$20
Relay Abs:$20--This was AWESOME, i thought for sure i was gonna get raped on a 2 or 300 dollar ABS Accumulator.
Relay Fuel Pump:$20--Again, had some grace and this solved the problem of fuel pump remaining on after key was off. Didnt need new pump.
Coolant temp sensor:$20
Spark Plugs:$18--Previous owner had only 5 plugs in, this was a nice find and fix.
Dis Module:$130--I probly didnt need this but was talked into getting it by the previous owner on a hunch he had. His hunch was wrong.
Cam sensor:$40--This was by far the best fix of all, the other fixes were important but this one really sent it home, i was stallling at lights, jerking bucking, car felt like it was intermittently losing electrical power, this was happening almost everytime i drove it.
Removed resonator as well and it sounds and feels better.

In this process i also purchased a vaccum line tester and a fuel pressure tester, both went a long way in diagnosing problems. The only thing i regret buying is the DIS module, but the way i see it i will just hold on to it and when i need it i will have it. Problem with that is now thta i have one it wont ever go out. My life and luck dictates that if i did sellit i would need it soon after, if i keep it it just collects dust lol.

Thx again for all the help.