Question about 1983 Chevrolet El Camino

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Blown headgasket steps to replace headgaskets on my 83' elcamino with 305 engine

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Remove valve covers, drain radiator. remove hoses& linkage, distributor,intake manifold, loosen rockers and remove pushrods. disconnect exhaust pipes (dont worry too much if a stud breaks, you can replace them once out of car.) remove exhaust manifolds, remove head bolts. take heads off. clean off all surfaces and don't get any debris in engine. Get a manual if this is scary...Replace in reverse order. Check heads for cracks between valves, head torque is 65lbs, intake is anything around 30. Mark distributor so you can put it back in exactly like it came out...once nearly in, they usually stop. keep light hand pressure on it and turn engine by hand & it will drop the rest of the way in. tighten rockers till you can just spin the pushrod Move engine position to do any that have spring tension. adjust lash running by loosening till they clatter, turning till no noise and 1/2 turn further. When adjusting, oil will go everywhere so do it somewhere you can make a mess.

Posted on May 23, 2009


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Check for white smoke out the exhaust. If you have white smoke then you are burning coolant and probably have a blown headgasket. Another way for checking a blown headgasket is to open the coolant overflow tank and run the car. If you see constant bubbles in the coolant then you have a blown headgasket.

DO NOT DRIVE YOUR CAR IF the gasket it blown as the engine will overheat and the cylinder head can warp/crack.

If there is no white smoke from the exhaust and no bubbles in the coolant system there is probably jsut a leak in the coolant system, visually check all the pipes and check around the waterpump housing for leaks. If you can't see a leak then pressure test the coolant system. A pressure test will push coolant out the leak and should help you find where it is.

Hope this helps

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Yes, driving around with a blown headgasket is BADDDD....

If you've never replaced a headgasket before then I would suggest that you not try it without proper supervision and help.
On a v8 when you replace one headgasket you replace the other as well. The gasket kit comes as a set of 2 headgaskets and all other gaskets and o-rings that will need to be replaced. You will need an array of tools to accomplish the mission - some hand tools and some specialty tools for dismantling the cylinder head.
I'm really not trying to scare you off but this is NO SMALL JOB. It will require patience and it will require tools and prior knowledge - so get the HAYNES RePAIR manual for the car and read up if you decide to go for it. I did the headgastets on my Acura Legend v6 - and what should have taken 30 hours start to finish took about 55.
Good Luck and Happy Motoring!!!!!!!

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