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Head for 3rz?

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Old 01-22-2008, 09:15 AM   #1
dath [OP] dath is offline
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Head for 3rz?

Hello All,

I recently purchased a '97 4wd with a 2.7 liter (169K miles). It has a couple of issues which I'm currently working on fixing. The first problem is a cracked exhaust manifold, so I put a Thorly header on order over at Summit. The second and more serious issue seems to be either a blown head gasket or a problem with the head as I'm getting a nice brown foam in the radiator (no mixing the other way though).

I haven't quite gotten the head off yet, so I don't know if I'll need to swap in a new one or not, but I thought I'd ask just the same. . . If I do need a new head, can anyone recommend a good source? Local to the Portland, OR area would be best, but I'd order one if necessary. Also, as far as head gaskets go, I assume Felpro would be the choice? ARP for head bolts?

This is my first Taco and I was an idiot to miss the head problem, though (to my credit) I believe the seller added something to the coolant to keep it from foaming (I have no clue what though) as I didn't get the foaming until I changed the nasty old stuff. . . Anyhow, I obviously decided I'd just fix it, so here I am

TIA,
-dath
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Old 01-22-2008, 10:53 AM   #2
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Don't pull the head until you verify that's your problem. Have you done a compression check? You should notice a deffinate drop in compression on the effected cylinder(s).
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Old 01-22-2008, 01:09 PM   #3
dath [OP] dath is offline
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It's got to be either a head gasket, cracked/warped head, or a cracked block (or some combination thereof). I had coolant in the intake when I pulled it off (ran out of the hoses near the egr), and the coolant in the radiator after flushing with water for at least 15 minutes (through the heater core and back down through the rest) and a fresh change and driving about 15 miles looked like a chocolate milkshake up top and brown nastyness under. Fortunately the oil still looks like regular oil, so no mixing that way. . . Of course I definitely would have noticed that when I inspected it. As it was, I noticed the coolant when I bought it, but it didn't foam up like that until I put new coolant in it, which leads me to wonder what they had put in there that would resist foaming when mixed with exhaust. . .

A head gasket can certainly blow without significantly changing the compression, so I see that test as somewhat secondary to pulling the head since I know there is a problem. Am I missing something? I was more curious were to find a good head or if there are aftermarket heads available which would give me more options. . . Definitely I want to know if I missed something that I should have considered. I have a compression tester and a leakdown tester, but that seemed like an unnecessary formality. . .

Thanks!
-dath
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Old 01-22-2008, 02:15 PM   #4
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Sorry I can't help you, it sounds pretty grim. I was in Portland this past summer, really beautiful, got a pair of Wesco boots while I was there, hope your rig survives
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Old 01-22-2008, 04:37 PM   #5
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Thanks guys, guess I'll look around online some more once I get the head off. I did find a place in Portland that has complete rebuilt heads for around $500 (valves and cams and all I believe) I can't find the website again now though. . . Doh! I think I should be able to get that far this evening if I'm sufficiently motivated. . .

I'm set in my mind that I'll get this thing back on the road again. I had half a mind to just get rid of it when I found the problem, but decided that I had some unnatural desire to fix it and make it all better again, plus I didn't want to make it someone else's issue. I don't know why, I must have caught the Taco bug!
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Old 01-24-2008, 04:18 PM   #6
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I'm truly sorry.

Lost mine on a '96 2.7 last summer. $3k later it's kinda fixed. Finding the head was tough and it wasn't complete. Had to use the old valve train.
Had no water in the oil-it was leaking into #1 cylinder and burning off. Still
got performance issues. Once the coolant gets that far, a lot of things get
trashed. Good luck.
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Old 01-25-2008, 10:18 AM   #7
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Thanks

The head should be coming off tomorrow. I'm thinking I'll just replace it, I found that in-town place again, they're called Aluminum Head Rebuilders and the person I talked to on the phone seemed very knowledgeable. They sell a complete assembled 3rz head (valves, shims, cams and all) for $500 plus $175 core. They will also ship, so I'll definitely post back again once I get this all resolved with how things went. I suppose the worst case would be that I need to rebuild the bottom end as well, but I doubt it. The pickup was performing just fine with this problem, so I'm hoping that this will be the cure. Unfortunately the Thorley header I have on order with Summit is back ordered until sometime in February and I need that since the exhaust manifold was badly cracked. . . Ugh!
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Old 03-03-2008, 01:55 PM   #8
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Status Update

Well I finished up a bunch of work on the pickup, including swapping the head with a rebuilt one from Aluminum Head Rebuilders in Portland. In total, I ended up doing the following:

- Replaced head with rebuilt head.
- Had fuel injectors cleaned/rebuilt.
- Replaced fuel filter.
- Replaced spark plugs.
- Replaced exhaust manifold with Doug Thorley header.
- Flushed coolant system thoroughly.

I probably missed something there, but those are the big ones. I have about 1000 miles on the head swap and I need to check the valve clearance per what Aluminum Head Rebuilders told me was needed. So I'm pretty confident that things are in mechanically good shape at this point. The coolant still looks nice and green and the oil is clean and the level is stable for both.

In addition, I just replaced all of the shock absorbers with Bilsteins and then took it in to have a set of Avon Ranger TSE's that I ordered from TireRack installed and had them set the alignment at the same time. . .

Next I need to solve the wind noise issue that seems to be coming from the top of the drivers side windshield. . .
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Old 03-03-2008, 02:08 PM   #9
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Gratz on the sucessful engine work!

As for the wind noise Tacomas arn't the quietest trucks in the world. Is it a whistling or very loud wind noise only from a specific spot? If not it just might be normal. There's a TSB for the new trucks that have windshield noise which is apparantly fixed by resealing it.
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Old 03-03-2008, 05:58 PM   #10
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Thanks, it feels great to be done with it and have a functional vehicle again!

The wind noise seems to come from a fairly specific location on only the drivers side. It reduces significantly when the windshield wiper is fully extended (if I turn them on) or if I put my hand over that corner it seems to be muffled. I did see the TSB for the newer Tacomas, which is why I suspect it has a seal problem. I'm thinking I may just try a little silicone as I don't really want to try to pull the windshield since it seems like it would be difficult without breaking. I also don't want to pay to have a new one put in. . . Not a huge deal, but it's a bit annoying. . .

P.S. The noise sounds like loud wind, not whistling. Definitely isolated though.
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