Hi everyone, I was given a friend's '92 Escort with a 1.9 engine that was leaking coolant into a combustion chamber due to a small channel eroded into the head. The car is in excellent condition otherwise so I had the head milled to clean up the damage, and had a valve grind and jet-clean done.
Now as I put it back together I notice tiny hairline cracks between the valve seats at their closest distance to each other. There weren't any previous problems with the car before the recent leakage, so I wonder if these cracks can be ignored. I'm guessing by the carbon pattern on the cracks that they've been there for a long time.
We don't really cover the 1.9 in here as it wasn't available in trucks but I can tell you from personal experience that they are indeed prone to cracking the heads.
I'd take the head back to the machine shop that did the work. That's something that they should have caught. I've heard of many instances where heads were cracked between the valve seats like that but the cracks didn't extend into any coolant passages and didn't cause a problem. However, with aluminum heads, I'd be afraid of the seats coming loose and dropping out...
"alot" is not a word...
Political Correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.
Thanks for the advice. I just brought in the bare head with loose valves for a super economy grind so I don't blame the shop. I could have had them pressure test it I suppose but didn't.
I talked to a good mechanic today who assured me that a lot of these type engines have the tiny cracks and usually they would be okay. It's hard to even find a core with no tiny cracks for some motors apparently.
Kind of reminds me of flatheads...
The original heads for the Escort were cast in Italy. If that tells you anything. They are known to be VERY easy to crack if they get overheated. Some will have leaking head gaskets between cylinders, and be diagnosed as a cracked head. Many Escorts went to heaven because of the repair cost when the rest of the car was in excellent shape. It was not economic to put $500-800 into a $1500 car... at least a lot of people thought so. So they got car payments of $200-300 for a beater, and paid for the head repair in the next two-three months, and again .. and again until they paid for their 'new' car. In other words, if the rest of the car is on good enough shape, and you are not tired of it, repair is often, if not always, less than 60-72 months of car payments. Your choice. But, you will get over 30 mpg for a long time if you keep it in repair.
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Hi Tom W,
Interesting that those heads were cast in Italy. I repaired the car and it is running fine except for an uneven idle, and the heater being soso in output. The car does have an excellent body and interior though so I'll try to sort out the little problems.
I was told the idle problem was due to a bad temp. sender which should be a cheap fix. You are right about the mileage, this car belonged to a friend who kept a log of mileage and frequently got over 40 miles per (imperial) gallon, mostly highway dri ving. I got hold of a parts car that also had a bad head gasket and therefore was free. It was also in excellent rust free condition but slated for junk because of the leak. Unfortunately I couldn't keep it around due to me living in the city, but I stripped the most useful parts I could think of.
An update on this car: Well I've been using it as a daily driver for over a year, got it really hot once (the electric radiator fan failed to come on), and there's been no problems.
I am repairing another similar car that had a cracked head. I had to remove a couple at the junkyard before I found a good one, and even it has the micro-cracks between valves. But I'm confident now that it will be fine after a regrind with new exhaust guides.
The major cracks in that bad head were quite obvious and leaked heavily during leak testing, while the micro-cracked head showed no leakage under the same test.
my philosophy on the 1.9l.... as soon as it gets hot, throw the head in the nearest trash can. i had a '95 'scort that ran awesome after i replaced the head. i drove from hesperia, CA to vegas, around vegas for two days, and back to banning, CA and only had to fill up once at state-line. and i did 85-90m.p.h. the whole way. i sodl the car back to the lady i bought it from who needed it for her son, and she loaned it to someone and they wrecked it!
My wife said if i didnt stop spending money on my truck and not her, she would leave..... My new girlfriend loves my truck!
if it has t**ies, tires or tools, it has my full attention.
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