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Old 01-15-2009, 10:48 PM   #1
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Default Cherokee 4.0 head gasket replacement

I don`t really have a step-by-step guide to give anyone but just wanted to encourage anyone who has a blown head gasket to not be scared or disheartened as it CAN be replaced by the home mechanic. Recently my head gasket went out in my 1994 Cherokee (4.0 auto) between the 2nd and 3rd cylinders (Just between the cylinders. No where any coolant was involved) and the guy at my local repair shop told me it was "catastrophic" and would run me like $1000 to fix. I was ready to sell the Jeep and had gone to buy a car from a guy I know. I actually had the cash in my pocket and was ready to sign the title but when I arrived on Friday morning he told me he was unable to find the title and he`d bring it into work on Monday. Well since I had nothing to loose and nowhere to go all weekend I figured what the heck and Friday evening after work I grabbed all my tools and my Haynes manual and started taking the Jeep apart. It was a pain in the ***** (And back) and it took me all Friday evening and all day Saturday but by Sunday morning I was running down the highway at 65mph in my Jeep!
I used just mainly basic hand tools and took my time and made sure to carefully label everything clearly and put all the parts/nuts/bolts/etc in seperate plastic bags..Everyone told me to have the head machined but I settled for simply cleaning it well and laying a straight edged steel ruler across the length of it from various angles and looking for any gap...Made sure to tighten all the bolts in the correct order to the correct torque.
So if you are a decent do-it-yourselfer mechanic and this comes up don`t be afraid to give it a try...It will be a pain and take a good number of hours over several days but if you take your time and label everything clearly I think you`ll surprise yourself!
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Last edited by Programbo; 01-15-2009 at 10:54 PM. Reason: Forgot to include year of vehicle
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Old 01-15-2009, 11:07 PM   #2
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^5 to that!
I know most mechanics shops scare the living hell out of people with what's actually wrong. Doing a cylinder head on these things is cake, some cars I know are bad, where replacing an engine is cheaper and less labor (for some reason a lot of Fords come to minds...Don't know why...)


You're the perfect example of when we tell people that you CAN work on your XJ yourself, and we're here if you run into problems. Now go and spread the word about how cool the XJ's are!!!
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Old 01-15-2009, 11:23 PM   #3
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wow i actually found my head gasket is blown hahaha
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Old 01-15-2009, 11:28 PM   #4
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Quote:
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wow i actually found my head gasket is blown hahaha
Pull the plugs and double check...
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Old 01-15-2009, 11:33 PM   #5
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Found this link while searching the net: http://www.expertvillage.com/video-s...eplacement.htm
This is a video series...
I hope this would be useful...
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Old 01-15-2009, 11:34 PM   #6
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what would pulling the plugs do like my other car blew the head it over heated 10 times in a week and i just scraped it bc it was a beater it was wrecked like 7 times hahahah
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Old 01-16-2009, 12:03 AM   #7
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Well you can see where the coolant is coming into which combustion chamber... It's like the easy/lazy way of checking if and where it's blown...
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Old 01-16-2009, 12:07 AM   #8
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i thought so but not totally sure
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Old 01-16-2009, 06:01 PM   #9
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My head gasket was blown out just in that thin area right between the 2-3 cylinders so no coolant loss was involved..In fact that`s what steered me wrong at first into thinking it was fuel injectors..I knew it was running in a way that meant one or more cylinders were dead and the first thing I thought of was a plug wire etc since my Caravan had a shorted wire recently and the one plug just wasn`t firing..So I checked all 6 plugs with a tester and saw that all 6 were firing ok so I baby'd the Jeep over the local garage and the mechanic there also pulled the wires off plugs one by one and found that it was the 2-3 cylinders had no change with the plugs removed..He pulled the dip-stick and looked in the coolant and seeing no oil/coolant cross contamination proclaimed, "Well it`s not a blown head gasket. Most likely fuel injectors." I headed home and unplugged the injectors one by one and saw that unplugging the 1-4-5-6 caused the engine to start to die but the 2-3 had no effect so I believed the mechanics opinion and went and bought two injectors for $50 each..Still the same problem..Took it to my friends shop and he did a compression test and he said I had 2 dead cylinders and it was a "catastrophic" problem blah blah blah...I guess the point of all this is that it`s possible your head gasket could be blown and you might still not have any coolant leakage anywhere..I`d do as BowTieGuy says and check for coolant on the chambers first and if not I`d start the thing up and unplug the injectors one by one and if you have 2 side by side that cause no change it might be a blown gasket between those two in the area mine was.
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Old 01-16-2009, 07:11 PM   #10
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Do a compression check on each cylinder. That is the right way to do it and it is only 6 cylinders that are very easy to get to.
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Old 01-16-2009, 08:57 PM   #11
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good job
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Old 01-16-2009, 09:13 PM   #12
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Quote:
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Do a compression check on each cylinder. That is the right way to do it and it is only 6 cylinders that are very easy to get to.


bc its a sweet awesome inline 6 baby!!!
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Old 01-17-2009, 09:53 AM   #13
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actually a LEAK down test is always better...that test will tell you anything you want to know....But just because you have 2 cylinders showing no compression more than likely I would suspect a HG. But i wouldnt rule out a Valve issue either....The last thing on my mind would be bad rings. Specially on only 2 cylinders next to each other...Programbo did you check the valves on the head also?? to insure they are all sealing ?
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Old 01-17-2009, 11:21 AM   #14
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I guess I would probably do both. You do have a good point. Bubbles don't lie. Like I said, at least it's an EASY one to get to everything on.
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Old 01-17-2009, 12:34 PM   #15
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Well, this is all the encouragement I need to get off my lazy butt as I have a blown HG on my 95. Gotta wait a few days for the weather to break because I find I'm able to do more when I can actually move my fingers. 7 degrees here this morning.
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