It seems as if the Mustang gods have cursed me. After I installed a new MAF and distributor on my beautiful 1992 Foxbody Mustang, she was running for about a week until the next part broke. This time, however, it was a bit more expensive.
I noticed the temp gauge steadily start to rise as I was cruising through the neighborhood, on my way to 7-Eleven to pick up some delicious taquitos. Sadly, I had to ignore my taquito mission and pull over to see what broke on my Mustang this time. A quick look under the hood and I noticed that my coolant reservoir was empty.
I made a quick phone call to my mom and she came to the rescue with two gallons of distilled water. I slowly added the water as the car was running as to prevent the temperature difference from damaging the block and it seemed like we were back in business. I drove home and all was well, it was running at operating temp and the coolant level seemed to be ok.
I quickly forgot about my overheating issues and decided to install my new Pypes X-pipe and catback. After wrestling with the rusty exhaust for about an hour, it occured to me that maybe I should check the oil in the Mustang, just in case the overheating was caused by a head gasket issue. I pulled out the dipstick and sadly saw a thick mixture of oil and coolant, making my oil look like delicious chocolate milk.
Sadly, chocolate milk oil is caused by either a blown head gasket, cracked/warped heads, or a blown lower intake gasket. I began my tear down of the engine, curious as to what I’d find. I documented every step on YouTube which you can find here.
The engine teardown went smoothly, barring a few hiccups resulting from using the wrong size socket and forgetting to loosen the stud girdle. I pulled the heads off and was greeted by more chocolate milk.
I brought the heads to a local NAPA machine shop where I learned they were o-ringed, meaning there were grooves cut in the head for an o-ring built into the head gasket to seat. This is generally done for high compression or forced induction builds to ensure a good seal. The downside of o-ringed gaskets, however, is that they are crazy expensive. A normal Ford 302 head gasket is about $30. An o-ringed gasket is $73.
Once I get the heads back from the machine shop, all that’s left is to install the new gaskets and put everything back together. Maybe one day I will have a running Mustang for more than week.