Cylinder Head Maintenance??

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Aug 4, 2007
Bellingham, Wa
Alright, I've got the head coming off due to gasket failure signs. Head grind kit on it's way from CDan. The question I have is, since my 93 has only 104,000 on the clock, does my head really need a complete overhaul? I know what the immediate thought is, why not since it's off the engine. My real problem is machine shop resources are almost non-existant where I live at the moment. My options here are a wait of almost a year (yeah!!) with quality of the job in question, or ship the thing off island. What I'm thinking is to attempt to do the warpage checks with a 'precision straight edge', clean it up a bit, and slap it back on with the new gasket, with the idea of pulling if off again some time down the road (as in 200,000 miles), and having it gone through then, most likely somewhere closer to civilization. Any thoughts from the experts on this? I have the FSM and it seems pretty straight forward on the checks, advice on doing this myself?
I personally know a machine shop here in the Phoenix area that does great work. I know others have shipped their blocks and/or heads to him from around the country and even south of the border. Not sure what shipping would be, be their quality is top notch if you decide to go that route.
You didn't post an account of what happened, which would be helpful. If you were driving on the highway and the engine stalled I think we'd have one thought. If you noted the HG leaking and it's never been low on water, another set of thinking altogether.

Great point. First symptom that got my attention was heater not putting heat out as truck warmed up, like it normally did. Heater would function normally shortly after starting my drive. Truck began to regularly idle rough for a few seconds on the first start of the day, but would drive beautifully all other times. Did notice small amount of coolant loss, overflow tank showing halfway between full and low after engine fully warmed up and ran around three days ago. Steady stream of bubbles (approx. 1/sec) exiting from overflow tank tube at idle, did not spin up to 3k rpm. No external coolant leaks noted. Exhaust appears a bit heavy with condensation at first start of day, but does not appear abnormal after driving. Experienced one temperature rise, approx. halfway between 'normal' and start of the red zone, but it seemed too quick to be an accurate engine temp fluctuation to me. Symptoms seemed to match Shipwrecks pretty much exactly. Are you thinking I may have some head damage that warrants an overhaul based on these symptoms?? Thanks for help on this.
Are you thinking I may have some head damage that warrants an overhaul based on these symptoms?? Thanks for help on this.

This is pretty classic head gasket failure. But not a real reason to perform a full valve job IMHO. If the straight edge shows the head out of spec then just consider getting it surfaced and slap it back together. From what you are describing it doesn't sound catastrophic.
Thanks for your opinion on this, I'm thinking along the same lines due to my limited resources for the overhaul as stated in my original post. Any other thoughts from the experts??

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