Leaking head gasket, over torque bolt to slow leak??

Discussion in '6.9L IH & 7.3L IDI Diesels' started by 6 Nebraska IDIs, Jul 13, 2008.

  1. 6 Nebraska IDIs

    6 Nebraska IDIs Registered User

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    As most of you know we discovered our "3000 mile, drop in and go" engine has atleast one blown head gasket. It leaks a pretty good run of oil out of the back corner by the exhaust manifold. My question is, is it possible to over torque that bolt a few more pounds to try and slow the leak down? Is it even a good idea at all? I dont want to crack the head. If these were aluminum heads, I know what Im asking is a BIG NO NO, but these being cast iron is it a possible bandaid solution to get it by for a while?
    The head doesnt leak any water, just oil.
     
  2. RLDSL

    RLDSL Diesel fuel abuser

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    Considering what you've run into so far, chances are, no torque wrenches were harmed in the assembly of that engine in the first place :backoff it couldn't hurt anything to retorque the things.

    I feel for you.
    My last engine was the same way, " fresh rebuild" and it was, I opened the thing up, still had lubriplate in the lifter valley. Turned out the machine shop had a decent guy doing the cutting work ( in all fairness, the machine work was downright pretty ), but the three stooges doing the block prep and assembly. 5000 miles later I was redoing it myself after an incorrectly installed freeze plug walked out. Some of the stupid crap I found when I tore into that thing made my skin crawl.
    At least I won't have to have the "but honey, if I buy one already built, there's no tellin' how it was put together" argument ever again ;Sweet
     
  3. 6 Nebraska IDIs

    6 Nebraska IDIs Registered User

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    HAHAHA, okey doke. Im gonna pull the valve covers and retorque all the head bolts. Im hoping it frickin helps. lol. Seriously though, the oil cooler I rebuild myself, the intake, valve covers, turbo, timing cover and plate, water pump etc, I put all new gaskets in myself and torqued all the bolts correctly and I havent seen a leak yet. The oil cooler was the thing I was most worried about, as thats my first one I've ever done, and IT EVEN SEALED PERFECTLY. Its like, what is so hard about doing something right in the first place... and if you didnt, BE HONEST ABOUT IT. ya know.
     
  4. RLDSL

    RLDSL Diesel fuel abuser

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    Unfortunately, most people THINK that they have done stellar work :rolleyes:
    Big problem is most of them have never cracked a book in their life. long gone are the days since a torque spec like the one in the factory manual from the '47 Harley 45 flathead I had about 30 years ago which read for the head bolts " as tight as you can get the bolts with one hand on a 12" crescent wrench". ( considering some of the gorillas I've seen reefing on those things, that spec leaves a lot to the imagination :rotflmao

    Some of the crap I found on my engine . They forgot to bottom tap the head bolt holes so some of the head bolts were not even seated so it was just a matter of time before head gasket failure. Lot's of little stuff that was destined for failure ten times over. and the guy I got it from had not cheaped out, he had obviously paid them a fortune, the number of new , high end parts in the thing was unreal, but once they got the parts, they just got stupid with them . Things like I guess they couldn't figure out what to do with the valve seals in the kit so the valve seals I found on the thing looked like big block ford gasser rubber seals, and they , after 5000 miles were already heat degredated. There was one person in the shop who knew what he was doing thankfully he was the one doing the boring and all the cutting work, but all the help the place were morons.
    That place was out of state. I've had machine shops around here do such stupid stuff it's unbelieveable till I finally found a real good place

    It's getting really hard for shops to find decent help anymore. Even the Big name engines aren't immune. I've got a friend with a low mileage Promar 7.3 engine that went TU. The big warranty doesn't help much when you're on a time schedule.
    The big problem is here in 'merica, attitudes toward mechanics havn't changed and people still think that being a mechanic is something that you can do if you flunk out of school and are too stupid for anything else, so the profession doesn't attract the best and brightest except for high end stuff like heavy equipment . In northern europe it's different, being a mechanic is a respectable profession and attracts the smart guys and pays well ( good thing for those folks cruising 200mph on the autobahn )
     
  5. typ4

    typ4 Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    I think you hit the nail on the head with the "pays well" statement. Besides anyone can get a car loan so they must be disposable, right?
     
  6. MARQ2277

    MARQ2277 Full Access Member

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    If you got a bad head gasket, over torquing will not fix it, and you may break something. A lot of people don't realize what torquing actually does. Each bolt has slight stretch to them, that's what hold them in place. The torque value is the ultimate stretch point in which the bolt will hold. To little, and the bolt does not stretch enough for a proper hold. Too much, and the bolt looses its stretch/holding properties and at a point, will break. If anything, over torque will fatigue the holding ability, and you should at that point toss it. As for the mechanics. Back in the days, any body could and did turn a wrench, but like doctors and lawers, there's the good, bad and the ugly. These days, you have to be a rocket scientist to be a good mechanic, the dumb ones get recalls, while the real mechanics win races and events; and know how to do a job right; always doing proper prep and research, and making sure there's no short cuts, and that'll do her approach.

    Marq
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  7. Diesel JD

    Diesel JD Full Access Member

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    Sean I think you need to decide what to do about this block soon, either try and get some of your money back from the guy that sold it to you and be prepared to hand the chunk of iron(or insert expletive of choice) back over to him, or else eat the losses and build it back to how you want it. If you have decided to keep it I imagine the worst thing you could do by retorquing the headbolts is to break one or a washer. But I could be wrong. It seems you wouldn't warp a head unless you were already way overtorqued or your wrench was out of spec, but again I'm no mechanic. Sorry to hear of what a headache this has turned into for you. Better luck with the rest of it.
    On the more general thread, I think the way to excel as a mechanic, whether DIY or professional is to know where you can take short cuts and where you must be 100% by the book. Example, I know our oil filters have a torque spec but to look that up and be anal about it would be ridiculous, you even have a lot of wiggle room on our glow plugs and injectors, but when the manual tells you the heads MUST be torqued and untorqued in the correct steps and sequence or the mating surfaces must be spotlessly clean, ya better not cut corners.... my 2c
     

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