404 / 504 head troubles
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  1. #1
    Fellow Frogger!
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    Default 404 / 504 head troubles

    When attempting to change spark plugs in my 404 ute's 504 engine, all but one plug were seized. As I have insufficient space / tools / experience, I limped the vehicle on 3 cylinders to the local mechanic/ head servicing place.
    The head is in a very sorry state. Corrosion is bad and valve seats a bit recessed. According to the mechanic one of the contributing factors was the use (many years ago?) of an "easyfit" head gasket???
    Anyhow, what is the best procedure now. Do I authorise the workshop to service the head (no doubt at a price!) or does anyone in the AF community have a head available which is in a good condition? The ute runs on LPG, by the way.
    Look forward to your comments/advice with thanks.
    Wouter

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  2. #2
    Fellow Frogger!
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by wouter
    When attempting to change spark plugs in my 404 ute's 504 engine, all but one plug were seized. As I have insufficient space / tools / experience, I limped the vehicle on 3 cylinders to the local mechanic/ head servicing place.
    The head is in a very sorry state. Corrosion is bad and valve seats a bit recessed. According to the mechanic one of the contributing factors was the use (many years ago?) of an "easyfit" head gasket???
    Anyhow, what is the best procedure now. Do I authorise the workshop to service the head (no doubt at a price!) or does anyone in the AF community have a head available which is in a good condition? The ute runs on LPG, by the way.
    Look forward to your comments/advice with thanks.
    Wouter

    G'day,
    it seems that the early 2 litre engines always had problems with head gaskets.
    If the corrosion is really bad, then it may be cheaper to get another head - consequently what type of engine is it - a round port, square port or TI?
    If the head isn't in bad condition, then get it repaired. Probably cost a few hundred, but you'll know it has hardened valve seats, no corrision and will have a good gasket under it.
    Never heard of an easyfit gasket? Buy (or get your mechanic to buy) a TRS(?) gasket set; this will have everything you need, and new stem seals for the head - you won't blow out smoke!

    Cheers,
    Andrew

  3. #3
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    Hi Andrew, thanks for the reply.
    Now I'll have to expose my ignorance: the mechanic thinks it is a square port (inlet?), definitely not TI, how can one see?
    They would have to build up an area on the head just outside the cylinder circumference for 3 cylinders, then machine the head. Corrosion inside cooling channels looks like it could be cleaned up reasonably easily. Valve seats for 3 cylinders need to be looked at and fixed (they haven't taken them apart yet).

    Another thing we'll need are 2 of the sparkplug extension thingos. One broke, they other was burned.... Anyone?

  4. #4
    Fellow Frogger! downunderyank's Avatar
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    Default Head...

    I'll always help a fellow ute owner. I've got a square port head off of a 1983 505 with only 150K. It has hardened seats (so I've been told all 505 heads have) and is in good nick if you decide to go that way. I also have a couple of the spark plug extension thingies as well. Let me know if you need them. We'll have to figure out how to get them up to you.
    Before you judge someone, walk a mile in their shoes. Then when you judge them, you're a mile away and you've got thier shoes!

  5. #5
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    Hi DUY, thanks for the reply and the offer.
    I think I'll ask the mechanics to fix the head as you suggested. Have been promised a couple of extension thingos from Canberra, so that's okay too.
    Now wait for the ute returning to the living and the bill....
    Regards,
    Wouter

  6. #6
    Fellow Frogger! downunderyank's Avatar
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    Default ute

    Good on ya, keep those utes on the road!
    Before you judge someone, walk a mile in their shoes. Then when you judge them, you're a mile away and you've got thier shoes!

  7. #7
    Fellow Frogger! Phil Whitton's Avatar
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    Default

    Its worth remembering to check the plugs regularly after the engine is left to cool down. My old 403 handbook states quite clearly theat the engine must be left cold for 6 MONTHS. Maybe there was a translation error?
    However it is better to let the alloy cool to prevent the thread binding and coming away with the plug.
    There was also some thought of smearing the plugs with high temp grease on refirtting to prevent sticking.

    Good to see the ute going.

    I've just discovered the welsh plug behind the water pump has come away and spun a nice extra gallery into the head, so its off the Westend performance in Campbelltown to have a new seat machined o/s. ( and a broken stud removed too.

    Bon chance

    PJW

  8. #8
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by wouter
    Hi DUY, thanks for the reply and the offer.
    I think I'll ask the mechanics to fix the head as you suggested. Have been promised a couple of extension thingos from Canberra, so that's okay too.
    Now wait for the ute returning to the living and the bill....
    Regards,
    Wouter
    Far cheaper just to put another head on, take up DUYs offer.
    All sorts of things can go wrong if you get that much work done on a head.
    Graham

  9. #9
    Tadpole
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    Default 404/504 cylinder heads

    I have a 404 ute also with an injected motor. You may be best advised to get another head - but get it done up as you don't want to have to pull it off again too soon. Under no condition do you need to replace the valve seats unless of course they have fallen out or are badly eroded. Some people have been replacing them with new material only to find the seats wear in a very short time. I know of a repair shop in Sydney who sent someone with a 504 head to a repair shop and his reply was "I cannot get as good material that is already in the heads".
    I had 2 1957 403's (ute and sedan) and both had not had the seats replaced and I ran them on unleaded petrol with no additives. The ute did 120000 miles and no valve seat wear!
    Regards,
    Graham

  10. #10
    Tadpole
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    Default 404/504 cylinder heads

    Just remembered - do not try and run your engine too lean. On petrol or gas make them a bit richer and also get the timing right. Do not set the timing by ear!!.
    A friends runs a HR Holden on gas a bit richer than normal with no valve inserts - just stock cast iron head, and he has no valve seat resession.
    Graham

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by graham800
    I have a 404 ute also with an injected motor. You may be best advised to get another head - but get it done up as you don't want to have to pull it off again too soon. Under no condition do you need to replace the valve seats unless of course they have fallen out or are badly eroded. Some people have been replacing them with new material only to find the seats wear in a very short time. I know of a repair shop in Sydney who sent someone with a 504 head to a repair shop and his reply was "I cannot get as good material that is already in the heads".
    I had 2 1957 403's (ute and sedan) and both had not had the seats replaced and I ran them on unleaded petrol with no additives. The ute did 120000 miles and no valve seat wear!
    Regards,
    Graham
    I must disagree, a lot of people had trouble with valve seats on the Redex Rerun, and yes, even those that supposedly had hardened seats fitted.
    The trick is to find a repair shop that has the proper seats, I use CW/Top Torque in Beech Street Nunawading and have had no problems whatsoever with a variety of 403/404 and 504 engines.
    For the 504/404 you just need exhaust seats, the valves and inlet seats/valves are fine although I have taken the extra precaution of fitting 504 diesel exhaust valves for the 403 heads.
    With short trips you may get away without hardened seats, the other possibility is that work hardening over many years of use may have provided you with hardened seats anyway! The worst cases of VSR in the Redex were with people who had rebuilt heads and left the soft seats in.
    Peugeot superseded the earlier valve seats with hardened ones in 1981, earlier in the US.
    Graham
    Graham

  12. #12
    Fellow Frogger! downunderyank's Avatar
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    Default 505 head

    Well if anyone else wants a cheap square port setup with low K's, let me know. Will trade for diesel or ute parts!
    Before you judge someone, walk a mile in their shoes. Then when you judge them, you're a mile away and you've got thier shoes!

  13. #13
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    Well, further troubles appear to exist with the valve guides. Progress has now been halted, the mechanic doesn't mind putting things on ice for the time being.
    Will try to get the 504 head offered by DUY, hoping he'll visit AF soon. The old ute is really in the way at the mechanic's and I don't want to stretch the friendship too far.
    Thanks for the replies, the print-out of some of your remarks/advice helped in talking to Anthony (mechanic).
    Wouter

  14. #14
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    Dan was so good to have the head he had available checked by a machine shop. It turned out there were many cracks, so no good. Thanks DUY for the honesty.
    Does anyone have a decent early 504 head that I can take over for my Ute???
    Whilst this AF site is down, people may have time to think about it?
    Many thanks
    Wouter

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