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Blown Head Gasket, what to do? by craigtbone
Started on: 11-23-2013 10:34 AM
Replies: 6 (555 views)
Last post by: David Hambleton on 11-25-2013 09:23 AM
craigtbone
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Report this Post11-23-2013 10:34 AM Click Here to See the Profile for craigtboneClick Here to Email craigtboneSend a Private Message to craigtboneEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
The head gasket of my Duke just blew. I am trying to decide what to do.

’88 notch back, T-Top (CJB), 5 speed manual, 150,000 miles., very little rust that I can see.

I have thought of this as a long-term project car, hoping to do an engine swap at some point. Right now though, I am probably not in a position to do that (kids in college and such).

If I decide to replace the head gasket presumably I should have the head completely rebuilt. What all should be done? Valves? What else?

Do I recall reading that there is a head from a pickup truck engine that is a bit beefier that is a direct replacement? What vehicle / engine is that from? Are those heads readily available?

Forgive my ignorance but I have read about the Super Duty engine that was designed around the Iron Duke. When I do some research on this engine the only info I find seems to indicate it is purely a custom built racing engine and looks like it would cost 10s of thousands of dollars. Is that so?

It looks like a 3800 V6 swap is maybe the least expensive available? Are there any good shops in the eastern Pennsylvania / New Jersey / Delaware region that would perform such a swap?

Sorry for all of the questions. There are several directions I could go with this car, including just selling it and moving on. I am leaning toward fixing, or better yet, replacing the head but hoping you can offer info and options to help make that decision.

As always, all input is most appreciated.

Craig T.
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Khw
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Report this Post11-23-2013 12:26 PM Click Here to See the Profile for KhwClick Here to Email KhwSend a Private Message to KhwEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by craigtbone:

The head gasket of my Duke just blew. I am trying to decide what to do.

’88 notch back, T-Top (CJB), 5 speed manual, 150,000 miles., very little rust that I can see.

I have thought of this as a long-term project car, hoping to do an engine swap at some point. Right now though, I am probably not in a position to do that (kids in college and such).

If I decide to replace the head gasket presumably I should have the head completely rebuilt. What all should be done? Valves? What else?


The head may need decked if it got warped.

 
quote
Do I recall reading that there is a head from a pickup truck engine that is a bit beefier that is a direct replacement? What vehicle / engine is that from? Are those heads readily available?


That would be the head from a Chevy S10 with the Duke. It's not a "direct" swap as the intake would need changed, the pushrods would need swapped (as the Fiero push rods are to short for that head), the thermostat requires swapping around some freeze plugs to be used and it looks like some of the heads from certain years might have a head bolt hole in the wrong spot. If you search entire forum plus archives for "S10 head" you should come up with a list of threads you could read more about this swap in. They usually list casting numbers and such for what to look for. I found this thread: //www.fiero.nl/forum/A...090219-2-080092.html but it doesn't go as deep into it as you would probably need. The bonus is the S10 head flows better.

 
quote
Forgive my ignorance but I have read about the Super Duty engine that was designed around the Iron Duke. When I do some research on this engine the only info I find seems to indicate it is purely a custom built racing engine and looks like it would cost 10s of thousands of dollars. Is that so?


Yeah it's a rather expensive swap, actually one of the more expensive swapps you can do. If your looking to do it all at once, it can be even more expensive. If you pick up parts here and there searching for deals to build up an engine then it would be a little less expensive.

 
quote
It looks like a 3800 V6 swap is maybe the least expensive available? Are there any good shops in the eastern Pennsylvania / New Jersey / Delaware region that would perform such a swap?


The 3800 is one of the less expensive swaps to do and one of the easier swaps to do (excluding the 3.4 push rod if your car is already equipped with a V6 2.8). Another one that would be similar cost and effort wise would be the 4.9 Caddy engine. Both will bolt up to the Fiero trans and have been done many times. If your only looking for a little bit of a power boost and not to be a 1/4 mile king the 3800NA or 4.9 would be great. If you want to go faster the 3800SC is really good. The 3800 is damn near bulletproof and they came in so many vehicles that sourcing one shouldn't be to difficult, especially if you go NA. The 3800NA and the 4.9 are pretty comparable power wise witht he 3800 having a bit more HP but the 4.9 having a bit more torque. Those are the 2 engines I was looking at swapping into my Fiero had I not sold it. As to someone in your area that could do the swap, sorry I have no idea .

 
quote
Sorry for all of the questions. There are several directions I could go with this car, including just selling it and moving on. I am leaning toward fixing, or better yet, replacing the head but hoping you can offer info and options to help make that decision.

As always, all input is most appreciated.

Craig T.


I'm sure you've heard this before but, don't be sorry for asking questions. What is it my parents and teachers always told me? The only stupid question is the one you don't ask. It's better to ask and go into something with as much info as you can rather then go buy stuff and find out it won't work without alot of other things to.

Edit to add: Your in PA and I beleive there are several active forum members in that area. Maybe one of them will know more about shops that could do a swap or maybe one of them would be willing to take on the sap themselves if and when you decided to do it.

Another thread on the S10 head, unfortunately the picture links in it are dead //www.fiero.nl/forum/A...0314-2-074087-2.html

[This message has been edited by Khw (edited 11-23-2013).]

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1fast2m4
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Report this Post11-24-2013 05:51 PM Click Here to See the Profile for 1fast2m4Send a Private Message to 1fast2m4Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I have a Fresh Fiero 2.5 Head just sitting at my parents house. I bought it at lest 10 years ago for my 1984 but sold the car before I ever fixed it. I'll be over there Thanksgiving. If you can get some casting Numbers I can let you know if this head will work, It's In Frederick MD. You can have it if it will work for you, I had a Fel-pro head set with it but I don't know if that survived over the years.

I also have a Shop in Frederick Maryland, I can do a 3800 swap on the cheep for you if your interested. seems like your not sure which direction your headed with the car right now.


------------------
1986 SE 3800SC/4t65eHD (12.871@104.96) I'll Sell it if you like
1985 GT 3800SC (swap in progress)

[This message has been edited by 1fast2m4 (edited 11-24-2013).]

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Patrick
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Report this Post11-24-2013 09:44 PM Click Here to See the Profile for PatrickClick Here to Email PatrickSend a Private Message to PatrickEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by craigtbone:

The head gasket of my Duke just blew. I am trying to decide what to do.

’88 notch back...


 
quote
Originally posted by 1fast2m4:

I have a Fresh Fiero 2.5 Head just sitting at my parents house. I bought it at lest 10 years ago for my 1984...


If you indeed bought an '84 head, it will not be the proper replacement head for an '88 duke.
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pontiackid86
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Report this Post11-25-2013 12:35 AM Click Here to See the Profile for pontiackid86Click Here to Email pontiackid86Send a Private Message to pontiackid86Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Long time no see craig... As far as the SD4..... I would not do it... It is a full on racing motor and yes it is a very hefty price tag on it.
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olejoedad
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Report this Post11-25-2013 07:33 AM Click Here to See the Profile for olejoedadClick Here to Email olejoedadSend a Private Message to olejoedadEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Be sure to check the head for cracks.....
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David Hambleton
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Report this Post11-25-2013 09:23 AM Click Here to See the Profile for David HambletonClick Here to Email David HambletonSend a Private Message to David HambletonEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I lost two head gaskets because the head bolt near the thermostat end broke, resulting in steam from coolant hitting the exhaust manifold. Both were repaired by replacing the broken head bolt & gasket. One was an '84 SE, the other an '86 coupe. No other work was needed on the heads.
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