How to Install a Head Gasket on a 302

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A head gasket provides a seal between the fuel and coolant in your engine. One of the tell tale signs of a blown head gasket is when coolant enters the combustion chambers. This will make large amounts of smoke come out of your tailpipe. Over time, your head gasket will erode away, since many gaskets are made out of materials such as rubber. When this happens, you will have to replace the gasket to create a new seal.

Things You'll Need

  • Socket set
  • Gasket scraper tool
  • Gasket remover/cleaner solution
  • New gasket
  • RTV black silicone adhesive
  • Remove the bolts that are securing the valve cover to the cylinder head by turning them with a socket wrench.

  • Remove the valve cover from the cylinder head by pulling it directly up.

  • Pry the old gasket loose from the seal by scraping it with a gasket scraper. Be sure not to damage the gasket housing.

  • Clean the gasket housing with a gasket remover/cleaner solution.

  • Check the gasket housing to ensure that it has not warped. If it has, you will have to take your engine to a shop to have the housing reformed.

  • Place a small amount RTV black silicone adhesive sealant on the gasket housing and the edge of the gasket.

  • Press the gasket into the housing. Ensure that your gasket is in the right orientation. It should line up with the appropriate holes.

  • Replace your valve cover onto your cylinder head.

  • Reattach your valve cover using the bolts to secure it. Tighten the bolts in a crisscross pattern to approximately 12 -- 15 foot-pounds to ensure even tightening.

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References

  • "Ford Engine Buildups HP1531: Covers 302/351 CID Small-Blocks, 1968-1995 4.6L and 5.4L Modular Engines, 1996-2008; Heads, Cams, Stroker Kits, Dyno-Tested Power Combos, F.I. Systems"; Evan J. Smith; 2008
  • Mustang Monthly: Head Gasket Replacement
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