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2.2 heads, clean or shave?


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25 replies to this topic

#1 amhawks

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 12:54 AM

1996 2.2 with 166k, single port exhaust.

I am not 100% sure, but I think I have bad head gaskets on this engine. 'Newer' engine to me, so history is not fully known on this engine.

The question is if I have bad head gaskets, do I need to shave the heads? Or can I just clean the two surfaces? They are the 2.2 head with SP exhaust and I imagine they are fairly tough. However, I don't want to change out the HG and have history repeat itself due to a warped head.

Also, if they needed shaved do I have to pull all the valves, etc. out of the head?

Any tips or pointers? Thanks.

#2 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 12:58 AM

Glass, 220 grit wet/dry, wd-40, nice solid countertop.

If that proves too difficult to true them up then they are severely warped and will need Blanchard ground.

GD

#3 amhawks

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 01:05 AM

How do you check the heads to make sure they are 'true'? Straight edge?

I know bicycles and work on those quite a bit, but there is no way a head is hitting in my bicycle truing stand. :D

Edited by amhawks, 21 October 2012 - 01:15 AM.


#4 Fairtax4me

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 01:44 AM

Not impossible for a 2.2 to have bad head gaskets but pretty unlikely. What problems are you having that make you suspect the head gaskets?

#5 ocei77

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 07:51 AM

[QUOTEI am not 100% sure, but I think I have bad head gaskets on this engine. .[/QUOTE]

http://www.ultimates...ad.php?t=126868

What makes you think it's HGs?

O.

#6 amhawks

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 09:44 AM

Not impossible for a 2.2 to have bad head gaskets but pretty unlikely. What problems are you having that make you suspect the head gaskets?


I will agree on the 2.2. Every now an again though, something just goes.

I will tell you my symptoms since you asked, but don't tell me to pack up and leave. My 2.2 Subaru is installed in my 1990 VW Vanagon. So take in mind my symptoms are based off a VW cooling system.

Symptoms are;
1. No overheating, temperature always constant on the stock gauge.
2. Bubbles forming in my pressure reservoir (radiator fill) at a rate equal to engine speed (rpm). Bubbles form until coolant disappears in the reservoir until I unscrew the cap when coolant will then reappear either filling the reservoir to its proper height or overflowing.
3. 166k on the engine. Unknown how the engine was treated in it's prior life. Noticed a newer radiator installed when I pulled this engine. Maybe they heated it up back in the day or blew the radiator due to exhaust gases increasing in the cool an system. Just ideas.

Edited by amhawks, 21 October 2012 - 09:46 AM.


#7 amhawks

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 09:45 AM

http://www.ultimates...ad.php?t=126868[/url]

What makes you think it's HGs?

O.

Thanks for that link. This is what indeed should I go to this point.

#8 grossgary

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 10:04 AM

That does sound like EJ headgaskets. You could test for exhaust gases in the coolant, but it hardly sounds necessary to confirm at this point.

YES - resurface the heads. for two reasons.

1. first it just makes sense to get the best job you can out of such a huge job.

i do GD's method as shown in that link. unbelievably simple, just did, doesn't take long at all. I use a 3M spray on adhesive and it works awesome, spray the paper, slap it on the glass and it never moves. When I pull the paper up the adhesive takes seconds to wipe off and most of it stays on the paper.

2. the most important reason to do it is that if an EJ22 has a blown headgasket it was almost certainly previously overheated at some point in it's life.

i had the valves already out of mine, but i've done them with the valves in the head before...may depend which heads you have/valve orientation/clearance and how much you need to take off.

#9 Fairtax4me

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 01:30 PM

The Subaru cooling system has to be filled a certain way to avoid air pockets, which can cause similar problems, but it does sound like a failed head gasket. A combustion gas test (block test) may confirm this, but I'd probably just pull the engine and tear down for head gasket replacement.
The old 2.2 is pretty forgiving and uses a thick graphite head gasket. They used to be only $20 each from Autozone. The Felpro gaskets have the FHI logo stamped in them. Same exact part you would get from a dealer.

#10 amhawks

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 07:21 PM

. the most important reason to do it is that if an EJ22 has a blown headgasket it was almost certainly previously overheated at some point in it's life.


Thanks. I just wasn't sure if resurfacing or shaving was better.

I know the following are just assumptions but some insight would be appreciated. Just some random thoughts I have.
1. If the head gasket did indeed go, is it pretty certain that the head is warped?
2. What is the best way to clean the block (I am doing this in the vehicle, but have lots of swinging room since it is in the van)?
3. Any guesses where the coolant goes while the bubbles accumulate? From what I read that can be tricky, but it seems like everyone gets coolant flowing out or their radiator. My scenario just causes coolant to disappear when the cap is on. (Maybe am in HG denial ....):brow:

#11 Fairtax4me

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 11:51 PM

A. The head warp limit is .005" IIRC? Some heads can warp that much just by being removed. Subaru heads don't seem to warp very easily though.
More than likely the sealing surface between the gasket and head/block has been compromised by corrosion. Lack of coolant changes tends to cause that. Plan on having at least .004" taken off if the heads are heavily corroded.

This picture is huge so I'l just post the link: http://i145.photobuc...hy/IMG_0851.jpg
The dark grey areas around the water jackets.
.004" off of that head and all of the corrosion still wasn't gone. The remaining bit was small enough to not be a threat though. Subaru Blue anti-corrosive coolant changed at the proper intervals can prevent that.

#12 grossgary

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 08:31 AM

shaved, resurfaced, ground, whatever you want to call it - but they should have some material taken off - which is what i mean by resurface. they won't be that but but they won't be flat.

use the DIY surfacing linked to here and keep going until you're done. GD's pictures show it well, high spots will hit the glass first and other lower spots won't get touched at all, they'll stay dirty/gray....you keep going until it's all uniform and flat. very simple to do.

i've installed heads below limits, so while Fairtax posted the limit it's not the end all be all either. not that i'm recommending it but those limits aren't all that critical.

#13 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 02:28 PM

So if it's not overheating.... exactly why do you suspect HG's again?

Bubbles are by no means conclusive. Just means there's probably air in your system. Which wouldn't surprise me being in a Vanagon.....

GD

#14 amhawks

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 05:39 PM

So if it's not overheating.... exactly why do you suspect HG's again?

Bubbles are by no means conclusive. Just means there's probably air in your system. Which wouldn't surprise me being in a Vanagon.....

GD


No overheating. Temps run without fluctuation on the stock gauge. I know an IR thermometer is the way to check. . . but I only have the stock gauge!

As posted earlier symptoms are:
>>>>>
Symptoms are;
1. No overheating, temperature always constant on the stock gauge.
2. Bubbles forming in my pressure reservoir (radiator fill) at a rate equal to engine speed (rpm). Bubbles form until coolant disappears in the reservoir until I unscrew the cap when coolant will then reappear either filling the reservoir to its proper height or overflowing.
3. 166k on the engine. Unknown how the engine was treated in it's prior life. Noticed a newer radiator installed when I pulled this engine. Maybe they heated it up back in the day or blew the radiator due to exhaust gases increasing in the cool an system. Just ideas.
>>>>>

I *hopefully* plan on checking system pressure tonight. That should lead to more honing of this answer. I will keep you posted.

#15 ShawnW

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 05:44 PM

Is your harness OBD2? If so you can plug a higher end scanner or the ELM SCAN tool in and tell the engine temp off the computer sensor.

Check for leaks everywhere for sure on a Vanagon. The places I see them leaking the most are the rear heater and the bleeder screw on the top of the radiator. Otherwise just typical hose connections leaking.

#16 amhawks

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 07:42 PM

Yes it is obd2. My scanner is just a code reader. I wish I had a different type. $100 more, but in the end I think they are worth it.

#17 amhawks

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 11:58 PM

The places I see them leaking the most are the rear heater .

You may be right on with this one. I will pick up some parts tomorrow to bypass the heater. I noticed a few drops of antifreeze their tonight.

I also did a pressure test on my coolant system and it would not hold pressure when added and there was no increase in pressure as the engine ran and revved up to 3K.

I'll keep you all posted.

#18 johnceggleston

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 06:55 AM

add some dye and get a black light.

#19 ShawnW

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 05:32 PM

Yes it is obd2. My scanner is just a code reader. I wish I had a different type. $100 more, but in the end I think they are worth it.


http://www.scantool....obdlink-sx.html

I have the older version of this that I got on Amazon as a gift and I love it. When my Snap On Solus Pro won't talk to it-this thing WILL. I have to pay extra for European keys with Snap On and this does that for no more cash too. I am pretty close to just selling the Solus and buying a Panasonic Toughbook and using this sort of software along with buying the Subaru specific scanner interface "Select Monitor 3".

#20 Fairtax4me

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 11:25 PM

http://www.scantool....obdlink-sx.html

I have the older version of this that I got on Amazon as a gift and I love it. When my Snap On Solus Pro won't talk to it-this thing WILL. I have to pay extra for European keys with Snap On and this does that for no more cash too. I am pretty close to just selling the Solus and buying a Panasonic Toughbook and using this sort of software along with buying the Subaru specific scanner interface "Select Monitor 3".


That looks like a really good deal. I'll have to bookmark that one. Might pick one up some day when I have $$ again.

#21 grossgary

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 06:03 AM

That looks like a really good deal. I'll have to bookmark that one. Might pick one up some day when I have $$ again.


+1 book marked here too.

#22 amhawks

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 12:07 AM

UPDATE:
OK, I have some reporting.

- System did not hold pressure fir very long with my DIY tester.
- Checked hoses and they were all tight.
- Checked rear heater core and notice a drop of anti-freeze coming out near the valve (kinda odd since I just replaced the o-ring)
- Decided to eliminate the rear heater for now and checked for pressure.
- Front heater lines, at the T, started leaking
- Decided to bypass all heaters and took line coming out of the coolant manifold (2.2 - reversed) and brought it straight back to the pressure bottle.
- Checked system for pressure, it held air - no leaks detected.
- Bled system, bled system, and bled some more.
- Small air bubble in pressure reservoir, started it anyways. Bubble moved out of reservoir.
- Ran engine to operating temps in the driveway, no bubbles detected.
- Drove around the block a few times, no bubbles detected.
- Parked it back in the driveway, no bubbles detected.
- Engine stayed within operating temps on the VW gauge (middle to right below the LED)

I am guessing no to the HG, yes to a leak in my system, probably rear heater core - I will change out hoses soon and probably just run the front heater until I feel more ambitious.

NEW SCENARIO:
All that has me worried is as soon as I shut the van off I heard fluid hissing. I looked under the van and noticed fluid dripping. Popped the hatch and saw fluid coming out of my pressure reservoir near the cap. Tried to tighten the cap down and the cap just spun and spun (stripped). This is an aftermarket bottle I got from an 'undisclosed' dealer as a replacement when their other bottle did the same exact thing. Having the bottle blow up like that makes me either think it is:
A. Cheap bottle
or
B. Head gaskets

I can't give you temps other than what is on the VW gauge (sorry) and what I feel on the bottle itself (bottle is warm, not super hot).

There were no bubbles in the pressure reservoir present when this happened.

#23 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 11:10 AM

The radiator cap should regulate the system pressure regardless of a head gasket failure pushing exhaust gas into the system or not.

Seems obvious to me that you have a cheap bottle on your hands and in conjunction with the leaks at the heater you have found the sources of your problem.

EJ22 head gasket failure is extremely rare. Yes I have seen it happen - maybe a total of two times in the hundreds of 2.2's I've worked on. In both cases a severe overheating even was very likely to blame.

GD

#24 davebugs

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 11:26 AM

The radiator cap should regulate the system pressure regardless of a head gasket failure pushing exhaust gas into the system or not.


EJ22 head gasket failure is extremely rare. Yes I have seen it happen - maybe a total of two times in the hundreds of 2.2's I've worked on. In both cases a severe overheating even was very likely to blame.

GD


The 2.2's I've seen with HG issues had traditional failures after overheating. Traditional being blowing white smoke. Not the classic 2.5 failure symptoms you're reporting of bubbles and cooling system issues.

#25 amhawks

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 03:37 PM

The radiator cap should regulate the system pressure regardless of a head gasket failure pushing exhaust gas into the system or not.

Seems obvious to me that you have a cheap bottle on your hands and in conjunction with the leaks at the heater you have found the sources of your problem.

EJ22 head gasket failure is extremely rare. Yes I have seen it happen - maybe a total of two times in the hundreds of 2.2's I've worked on. In both cases a severe overheating even was very likely to blame.

GD


That's what I was thinking from these results. I am going to have to trust my stock gauge until I get another tool or two.




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