Tech Area

Head Gasket (4 Cyl)

Question: Wouldn't a head gasket leak result in lots of white smoke and a poorly running or idling engine? It is a 4 cyl and runs strong and clean.

Is a head gasket a PITA? I did one on a Voyager van but would rather not do another one. Thanks again for the help.

Answer: Head gaskets can deteriorate or "blow" anywhere. Since the entire outer area of a head and block is a water jacket, if the gasket deteriorates toward the outside area, there may be no coolant entering the combustion chamber (causing steam from the tail pipe/water on the plugs) or a "milkshake" in the oil pan.

Head gasket replacement is fairly simple on a Fiero 4 cyl. Disconnect exhaust manifold from down pipe. Disconnect fuel lines, cables, vacuum lines, water hoses, "dogbone", and electrical connections from intake side.

Remove valve cover and head bolts. Pry head loose and remove with exhaust and intake manifolds attached.

New head bolts are advised, but usually clean threads/used bolts torqued sequentially to 94 lb ft will be OK. Even the 87-88 heads (torque plus "stretch") will seal at 94 lb ft.

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